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Former California officer Johannes Mehserle released after serving one year for killing protester June 19, 2011 Protesters demonstrating in Oakland, November 5, 2010, against Grant's killing. (Photo: Thomas Hawk) Johannes Mehserle, the former BART police officer who shot and killed Oscar Grant while he was lying face down on the Fruitvale station train platform on New Year's Day 2009, was released from a Los Angeles jail June 13 after serving a total of 365 days for his involuntary manslaughter conviction. He was sentenced to two years behind bars, but Judge Robert Perry granted him an early release due to credit for time served and good behavior. The same date of his release, the National Lawyers Guild filed a classaction lawsuit on behalf of 150 protesters who were mass-arrested during the Nov. 5, 2010 demonstration in Oakland in the wake of Mehersle's sentencing. Meanwhile, a handful of individuals who engaged in the Jan. 14, 2009 and July 8, 2010 protests launched by Grant supporters -- which
morphed into riots after community rallies came to an end -- are still battling court cases. Two of the protesters arrested last July initially faced serious felony arson charges for igniting a trash can, which could have led to incarceration for a longer duration than Mehserle served for fatally shooting Grant. "There were several felony arrests last July, and people were facing charges that could lead to more than a year, no question about that," noted attorney Dan Siegel of the Oakland-based firm Siegel & Yee. Siegel is currently representing Todd Lister and Adrian Wilson, the two defendants who were accused of arson. The codefendants now face attempted arson charges, carrying a minimum penalty of eight months, with a midterm of one year. "Theoretically, that's what they're still facing," Siegel said, but added that he was confident the as-yet unresolved case would result in a more lenient outcome. Meanwhile, some of the burglary charges stemming from the looting that occurred in Oakland last July could potentially lead to multi-year sentences, Siegel added, leading to more time in jail than Mehserle served. As right-wing attacks on our basic rights and services are growing louder than ever, it's essential to keep independent journalism strong. Support Truthout by clicking here. Some of the hundreds arrested over the course of the three protests who had prior criminal convictions had their probation or parole immediately revoked as a consequence, said Rachel Jackson, a member of the Coalition for Justice for Oscar Grant and one of the organizers of the Nov. 5 community rally in downtown Oakland's Frank Ogawa Plaza. Of the hundreds of arrests made in Oakland during waves of protests launched by Grant supporters, just a small number were on serious charges such as burglary or arson. The mass arrest of 150 individuals last November was initially made on charges of unlawful assembly, yet nearly
all of the arrestees were cited and released after spending up to 24 hours in jail, and all had their charges dropped. In that instance, Oakland police corralled 150 demonstrators who had been participating in a lawful march through the streets into a residential block in East Oakland. Once they were surrounded, Oakland police -- who were aided in the streets by 32 other law-enforcement agencies that night, according to National Lawyers Guild attorney Rachel Lederman -- placed them all under arrest. No dispersal order was issued prior to making the arrests, and it would have been impossible to comply if one had been issued. In a class-action lawsuit, the National Lawyers Guild argues that the Nov. 5 protester roundup and mass arrest was a violation of the Oakland Police Department's crowd control policy, and that it constituted a violation of protesters' rights to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. "Even legal observers and a few people who happened to live in the neighborhood were swept up," Lederman said. "The policy is clear, and the constitution is clear," she went on. "You must have probable cause to believe an individual is committing a crime. But in this case, the whole crowd was herded onto a residential street, blocked in, and held on the street for hours. There was never a dispersal order, and all exits were sealed off." The Oakland Police Department did not respond to a request for comment. Arrestees were held handcuffed in vans, in some cases for hours, without access to a bathroom, Lederman noted. All of the women were subjected to pregnancy tests upon being booked into jail, "which made no sense and was abusive in this particular case," Lederman maintains, because the short time they spent there didn't justify the excuse that the test would have been necessary to determine whether anyone needed prenatal care. Several men, meanwhile, were subjected to DNA swabs, which is "only
supposed to happen if you're arrested for a violent felony," according to Lederman. Jackson, who was also arrested that night, said she believed police conduct was "incredibly intimidating, and it has a chilling effect on free speech." BY: Rebecca Bowe Comment here
Fort Campbell soldier Phtra Oum charged with criminal homicide June 19, 2011 CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) â€” A Fort Campbell soldier has been charged with criminal homicide and attempted criminal homicide after two people were shot at an apartment complex in Clarksville. Clarksville Police Officer Jim Knoll said 21-year-old Phtra Oum, who gave his address as HHB 3-320 Field Artillery, Ft. Campbell, Ky., remained in the Montgomery County Jail Sunday. Knoll said Oum shot and killed 20-year-old Victor Moulden Jr. of Clarksville and injured a 21-year-old Oak Grove, Ky., man at about 2:30 a.m. CDT Sunday outside an apartment complex. The Kentucky man's name was withheld pending notification of his family. Knoll said he remained in Gateway Medical Center in critical condition. Knoll said officers recovered a gun at scene and the investigation was ongoing. Oum's rank in the military was not immediately available Sunday afternoon. Comment here
Mathias Bolton's lawsuit against Jersey City cops for assault is dismissed June 19, 2011 The lawsuit brought by Mathias Bolton, 37, against Jersey City police officers claiming they did not identify themselves during an incident in 2007 that led to his beating, today's Journal reports. Arbitrator Alvin Weiss noted in his decision that evidence from witnesses and experts supported the police's version of events. The incident occurred in Aug. 2007 when Bolton called police saying he heard noises and suspected a burglar. He said he ran downstairs to open the door for police, because of a faulty doorbell, and was met by two plainclothes officers he mistook for accomplices of a burglar. As Bolton fled the scene, officers grabbed him. During the struggle, Bolton claims, he was beaten, kicked, stepped on, and struck across the back with a night stick. http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/2011/06/lawsuit_claiming_assault_by _je.html Comment here
Two former Fife, Washington officers remain certified after breaking law and engaging in sexual contact with subordinate while on duty June 19, 2011 Two former Fife police officers remain certified by the state and could be hired by another police agency, even though investigations found one officer broke the law and the other engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior with a subordinate at work. Fife police Chief Brad Blackburn reported to a state commission that neither of the veteran officers met conditions for decertification under state law, according to City Manager Dave Zabell. Zabell defended Blackburn and said state requirements didn‘t apply to either officer primarily because they resigned and were not terminated. However, one of the officers resigned after a pre-disciplinary hearing had been set for him – and one of the conditions established in state law for possibly revoking an officer‘s certification is when he resigns ―in anticipation of discipline.‖ The officers who worked in Fife were: • Detective Roy Shane Farnworth, who drank three-to-four double vodkas while on call last December and drove while under the influence, striking a concrete barrier and totaling his unmarked patrol car in Tacoma, a Sumner police investigation found. Farnworth, 45, an 18-year employee of Fife police, resigned May 5 ―due to personal reasons.‖ • Lt. Jeff Westover exposed himself to a subordinate employee on numerous occasions over several years and had sex with her once while both were on duty in the Fife police station, according to an Auburn police investigation.
Westover, a 17-year veteran of the Fife department, resigned Jan. 6 ―to pursue my personal business adventures.‖ ―Neither of those officers has been decertified,‖ said Tisha Ehret, certification manager for the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission. ―Nor have we been notified of misconduct.‖ Law enforcement agencies are required to report within 15 days any officers who leave their forces. One of the conditions for revoking a certification is when an officer is ―discharged for disqualifying misconduct.‖ According to state law, such misconduct includes: • Conviction of ―any crime committed under color of authority as a peace officer,‖ that is, while acting as a police officer. • Conviction of ―the unlawful use or possession of a controlled substance.‖ • ―Conduct that would constitute‖ any of the above crimes. Blackburn did not return phone calls requesting comment. But Zabell, acting as the city‘s spokesman, said neither Farnworth nor Westover violated misconduct statutes because they weren‘t discharged. The training commission‘s separation form also says an officer may be considered ―discharged for disqualifying misconduct‖ even if that officer ―resigned in anticipation of discipline.‖ In the case of Westover, Zabell said, ―he did not have any discipline pending.‖ But Farnworth did. Two months before Farnworth resigned, Zabell told the detective in a letter that he was considering disciplining him and that a pre-disciplinary hearing had been scheduled. But Zabell said last week: ―I don‘t know that the city has enough information to make a determination that Officer Farnworth absolutely
resigned because he was facing potential discipline. That is not the reason he gave for his resignation.‖ Because Blackburn reported to the training commission that neither officer met any requirement for decertification, neither outside investigation was sent to the commission, Zabell said. Zabell defended the city‘s actions. ―We provided the documentation required to the criminal justice training commission,‖ Zabell said. ―We‘ve done so accurately and in a timely manner. ―If the commission feels it‘s appropriate to review either of these cases then they should do so,‖ he said. But in the cases of Farnworth and Westover, Ehret said, ―I don‘t have anything showing me anything has risen to the level of disqualifying misconduct.‖ Sonja Hirsch, hearings coordinator for the training commission, said her agency has no plans to investigate either officer. Farnworth violated state DUI laws and five Fife police policies when he crashed his unmarked police car on the night of Dec. 27, Sumner police concluded. Blackburn said last month that Farnworth wouldn‘t be charged with a crime in connection with the incident. The crash happened outside Fife‘s jurisdiction, law enforcement didn‘t get involved until later that night, and no blood-alcohol test was given. ―We didn‘t have the evidence at the time to charge him and to process him for DUI,‖ Blackburn said at the time. ―We wouldn‘t charge him now.‖ In Westover‘s case, the criminal investigation did not conclude he committed a crime, and he was never charged with one. Investigators determined that Westover exposed himself to the woman ―with consent.‖
She was among multiple female employees who alleged that Westover showed them pornographic or otherwise offensive images on his cellphone. But the investigation said there were several inconsistencies between employees and ―unresolved questions‖ about who had knowledge of Westover showing the pictures and videos. When the training commission is informed of misconduct, it may investigate and then determine if the officer‘s certification will be revoked. A hearing may be held. From 2002 through mid-May of this year, the training commission had revoked the credentials of 122 law enforcement officers. None were Fife police. Four were Tacoma police officers. Two of those had been accused of domestic violence. Another was convicted of child rape. The fourth used law enforcement databases to run checks on his ex-wife and her boyfriend and was fired. In the cases of former Fife officers Farnworth and Westover, Ehret said that while both of their certifications are valid, ―neither of these officers is working in law enforcement, according to our records.‖ At least, not in Washington. The training commission based in Burien keeps track of officers employed in Washington only. Both Zabell and Ehret said hiring police agencies perform background checks that include an officer‘s past department. However, if Farnworth or Westover were to apply to work for another police department, he would have to sign a release for Fife to provide its outside investigations to that department, Zabell said. An officer‘s refusal to sign a release would be a red flag for any hiring agency, Zabell said. BY: Steve Maynard Comment here
Pineville excessive force case heads to jury June 19, 2011 Closing arguments and jury deliberations are scheduled today (June 20) in a federal civil trial in which a Rapides Parish man is accusing two officers with the Pineville Police Department of needlessly using a "shocking device" to subdue him during an arrest in 2006. In the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Alexandria in April 2007, James Gregory Bennett is seeking unspecified damages. The trial started June 13. Bennett said in court papers that on April 9, 2006, he had gotten out of the Rapides Parish Jail and was sitting on the sidewalk in the 200 block of Main Street in Pineville when Officer Cody Griffith arrested him on a disturbing the peace by public intoxication charge. After he was booked, Bennett claims, he was "taken to the floor" by Griffith, Kyle Martin and another officer. To subdue him, Bennett said, the officers used a Taser stun gun at least five times. Bennett said the officers "were not justified in using excessive force" and that "their actions were unreasonable ...," according to court documents. Bennett originally named three Pineville officers and the city of Pineville as defendants. One officer and the city were later dropped from the lawsuit. Opening arguments are scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. today in federal court. http://www.thetowntalk.com/article/20110620/NEWS01/106200310 Comment here
Tennessee officer Marvent Agusta Brooks arrested and charged with unlawful firearm possession while under influence June 20, 2011 A Jackson police officer who has been accused of stealing money from a robbery victim's home, was arrested Saturday and charged with unlawful possession of a firearm while under the influence and violation of the open container law, according to an affidavit. Marvent Agusta Brooks appeared in Jackson City Court today and is free on $2,500 bond. The affidavit said Brooks was observed squatting down beside a vehicle parked behind a closed business at 1434 S. Highland at 3 a.m. Saturday. He was slumped over into the passenger seat. Authorities said there was a handgun laying in the front seat and an open beer bottle sitting behind the driver's seat on the floor board. The affidavit said Brooks said he had been drinking and acknowledged that the gun was his. He was taken into custody on the charges. http://www.jacksonsun.com/article/20110620/NEWS01/110620020/Jackso n-police-officer-charged-unlawful-possession-firearm-while-under-influence Comment here
Former San Diego officer Anthony Arevalos facing 22 charges including sexual battery June 20, 2011 SAN DIEGO -- A woman testified Monday that a San Diego police officer massaged her breast with a hand-held breathalyzer and stuck his hand down her pants during a nearly two-hour traffic stop in the Gaslamp District last year. The witness was the first in a preliminary hearing for Anthony Arevalos, who was fired after being charged with 22 counts involving eight women from whom he allegedly tried to elicit favors during traffic stops, mostly in the Gaslamp. Arevalos, 40, who was with SDPD for 18 years, faces more that 20 years in state prison if convicted of false imprisonment, assault under the color of authority, sexual battery by restraint and receiving a bribe, said Deputy District Attorney Sherry Thompson. The first witness, identified only as Melissa, said Arevalos pulled her over about 2 a.m. last Oct. 22 after she left a Gaslamp bar with friends. The woman said she was stopped by the officer -- supposedly for sitting at a stop sign for too long -- as soon as she backed out of a parking space. "I was surprised at how quickly I was pulled over," the woman testified.
She said Arevalos asked her if she'd been drinking, and she said she'd been out with friends. The woman -- who said she was 30 at the time of the stop -- testified that the officer wanted her to take a breathalyzer test and field sobriety test, but she refused and stayed in her car. "I knew I didn't have to," she testified. The woman said she kept pulling on her low-cut tank top because it was cold with the door open, and Arevalos asked why. "He said, 'Are your breasts real?'" the woman testified. "I said no." The woman said she got nervous when Arevalos told her to tell him about herself and asked her why he shouldn't give her a ticket. She said she told the officer she was in school trying to become a nurse. "He said, 'You've got a lot at stake right here and so do I,'" the woman testified. She said Arevalos asked if she was "well manicured everywhere" and told her she seemed like a "nice girl." The woman said Arevalos massaged her nipple with a hand-held breathalyzer and asked her "Can you feel that?" She said he then stuck his hand down the front of her jeans and moved it front to back several times. The woman said she wasn't wearing underwear. The woman said she grabbed her cell phone to record the events, but she didn't know how. She said Arevalos asked her if she ever performed any kind of favors, and she said no. At some point, the woman said she lifted up her shirt to expose her breasts, and shortly after that Arevalos called her a cab.
The woman said she had told a number of friends what happened -- she told defense attorney Jan Ronis that the encounter was "shocking and uncomfortable" -- and learned about the officer's arrest in March. She admitted having a few drinks at a bar prior to be pulled over and said she didn't want to take a breathalyzer or field sobriety test because she didn't want to be arrested. "After I flashed my breasts and he put his hand down my pants, that's when he hailed a cab," the woman testified. Another woman, Marjan, testified that Arevalos pushed his hands down the back of her pants while handcuffing her on suspicion of DUI on Jan. 11 in the Gaslamp. When Arevalos pushed on the woman's tailbone trying to secure the handcuffs he said, "Easy, easy, you're in good hands," the woman testified. She said Arevalos squeezed her breast and said "umm" while putting her in the back of his patrol car and grabbed her breast again after taking her to the police station. Arevalos told the woman he wanted to spank her and see her "in nothing but my heels," she testified. When the woman said she was Persian, Arevalos replied, "No wonder you have big (breasts)," she testified. "He told me, 'This could have all gone away, if you'd just cooperate with me,'" she said. The woman -- who said she was 24 at the time -- said she was just leaving the Hard Rock Hotel with his sister when she was pulled over. At the conclusion of the preliminary hearing -- which resumes Tuesday -Judge John Einhorn will determine whether enough evidence was presented for Arevalos to stand trial.
Thompson said most of the alleged victims were between 20 and 30, and many of them appeared to be students. She alleged that Arevalos tried to find out things of a personal nature about the women he stopped, like their interests and what they were studying. Arevalos, a married father of two, was on duty during all of the alleged crimes, the prosecutor said. The former officer -- who is free on $200,000 bail -- is accused of sexually assaulting a woman he stopped on Jan. 10, 2010, in three different locations and is also charged with receiving a bribe in connection with a traffic stop of a female motorist on Sept. 28, 2009, Thompson said. The prosecutor said Arevalos made a DUI stop on a 31-year-old woman in the Gaslamp on March 8. When she registered above .08 percent on a DUI test, Arevalos asked the woman what she could offer him in exchange for making the charges go away, Thompson alleged. The woman asked the officer what he wanted, and he allegedly said one woman had given him her bra and panties. Arevalos told the DUI suspect that they needed to move to a separate location and escorted her to a 7-Eleven restroom, where he locked the door, took her panties, then sexually assaulted her before leaving, Thompson alleged. The officer stopped another alleged victim for an expired vehicle registration last Dec. 29. Arevalos told the woman he smelled alcohol and gave her a DUI test, which registered above .05 percent, the prosecutor said. Because the woman was under 21, Arevalos detained her for being a minor under the influence of alcohol, Thompson said. When Arevalos asked her what she would be willing to do to make the arrest go away, she told him she was willing to sleep in her car and have a friend pick her up, according to the prosecutor.
When that failed to resolve the issue, Arevalos allegedly told the woman they could go in a dark corner for 30 minutes or go in the back of his patrol car for 15 minutes. The woman declined, and when another officer arrived, she was given a citation, the prosecutor said. The City Attorney's Office has dismissed 15 DUI cases submitted by Arevalos, a spokeswoman said. http://www.10news.com/news/28293703/detail.html Comment here
Bonita Springs firefighter Alexander J. Wright arrested again for kidnapping and damaging property June 20, 2011 Hudson County officer Frances Marcano indicted for forging prescription to buy Percocet A Hudson County sheriff's officer has been indicted on charges she forged a prescription and tried to use it to buy painkillers, officials said today. Frances Marcano, 39, of Jersey Avenue in Jersey City, was arrested at her home in November on the charge of forgery, Hudson County Assistant Prosecutor Pete Stoma said today. Last month a grand jury indicted Marcano on the charges of obtaining drugs by fraud, obtaining prescription drugs by fraud and uttering a forged instrument, according to the indictment. The most serious count carries a possible sentence of 3 to 5 years in prison, although a first time offender is likely to get probation.
Marcano allegedly added Percocet to a prescription written by her doctor for another medication and tried to fill the prescription for the drugs at a Jersey City pharmacy, Stoma said. The pharmacist became suspicious and called the doctor who wrote the prescription and the doctor said he had not written a prescription for Percocet for Marcano, Stoma said. Marcano walked out of the pharmacy but the matter was investigated by Jersey City police and the Hudson County Sheriff's Office Internal Affairs Unit, leading to her arrest at her residence on Nov. 2, Stoma said. A spokesman for the Hudson County Sheriff's Office said Marcano has been suspended. Marcano's attorney, Jeffrey R. Jablonski of Kearny, could not immediate be reached for comment this afternoon. http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/2011/06/hudson_county_sheriffs_offi cer.html Comment here
California judge throws out Jesus Santos Sanchez Reyes' cocaine conviction due to officer acting unreasonably June 20, 2011 An officer who stopped a vehicle because it had no front license plate, even though it had a valid rear plate from a state that only issues one plate, acted unreasonably, the Sixth District Court of Appeal ruled Friday. The justices tossed out Jesus Santos Sanchez Reyesâ€˜ conviction of transportation of cocaine, giving false information to an officer, and driving with a suspended license. The defendant was arrested after a small amount of cocaine fell out from behind the driverâ€˜s sun visor, after he lowered it to retrieve his vehicle registration.
The arresting officer, from the City of Seaside in Monterey County, said he was driving in the opposite lane when he noticed the defendant‘s vehicle lacked a front plate. He then executed a U-turn, noticed that the car had a front plate from Florida, and made the stop leading to the arrest. Florida Law The officer was unaware that Florida only issues one plate, except when the vehicle is a commercial truck weighing over 13 tons. Prosecutors argued that the stop was objectively reasonable, since the officer could not be expected to know that a distant state does not require a front plate. California law says every vehicle must have a rear plate, as well as a front plate if two plates have been issued. California issues two plates to every vehicle except motorcycles. The magistrate denied the motion to suppress, and the defendant agreed to plead guilty in exchange for three years probation. On appeal, however, the defendant reiterated that the stop was objectively unreasonable, and the justices agreed. Justice Eugene Premo rejected the prosecution‘s reliance on People v. Glick (1988) 203 Cal.App.3d 796, which held that an officer‘s mistake of law did not render a stop unreasonable. The officer in that case stopped a car that did not have a registration sticker attached to the rear plate, which was from New Jersey. The officer was unaware that New Jersey requires that the annual sticker be attached to the windshield rather than the license plate. The vehicle, in fact, didn‘t have the sticker—the vehicle was stolen from a California dealer and the plates were for a different vehicle—but the officer didn‘t check for it.
Different Case The court upheld the stop, distinguishing People v. Teresinski (1982) 30 Cal.3d 822, in which the high court rejected a stop based on the presence of juveniles in a vehicles after the local curfew. The officer, the court reasoned, should have known that his city‘s curfew ordinance only applied to juveniles who were loitering on the streets, not to those who were in cars. The Glick court said the same rule could not be applied to an officer who had made numerous stops of vehicles from other states that require a sticker be attached to the license plate, and was not aware of the New Jersey exception. In Reyes‘ case, the prosecution argued that because Florida is a distant state and its law is unusual, the conviction should be upheld under Glick. Premo, however, said the rule in the majority of jurisdictions is that a stop based on a mistake of law cannot be deemed objectively reasonable. Glick, he added, is distinguishable in that the officer there correctly suspected that the car was not lawfully registered; Reyes had not violated the Vehicle Code in any respect. ―If there are extraordinary circumstances that would render a mistake of law reasonable, this is not such a case,‖ the justice wrote. ―Even if the officer is not expected to know the law of all 50 states, surely he is expected to know the California Vehicle Code, which does not require two license plates if the jurisdiction issues only one.‖ Premo continued: ―When the officer observed a vehicle with one out-of-state license plate mounted on the rear of the vehicle all he needed to know was whether the sister state issues one or two plates. This is not a factual ambiguity that can only be cleared up by stopping the vehicle and checking with the
driver. It is a legal question. If the law enforcement officer does not know the answer, he or she is not authorized to make the stop anyway.â€– The alternative, he wrote, would be to encourage officers to remain ignorant of the law. The case is People v. Reyes, 11 S.O.S. 3259. BY: KENNETH OFGANG Comment here
Cloquet, MN officer Dan Hawkin pleads guilty for domestic dispute charge June 20, 2011 Cloquet, MN (Northland's Newscenter) A 19 year veteran of the Superior Police Department pleaded guilty Monday for disorderly conduct. 44 year old Dan Hawkin Junior was arrested following an alleged domestic dispute in Carlton County this past January. As part of a plea agreement the domestic assault charge was dropped for the disorderly conduct charge. Hawkin was sentenced to 90 days in jail, which was stayed for 86 days since he was given credit for spending four days behind bars.
Terms of his probation include a chemical dependence and anger management assessment. Hawkin will remain on paid administrative suspension until officials with the Superior Police department have examined all the facts and determined if any punishment should be imposed. BY: Melissa Burlaga Comment here
Mansfield NAACP chapter wants corrections officers fired for mistreatment of juvenile inmate June 20, 2011 MANSFIELD -- The local chapter of the NAACP has called for the firing of corrections officers reportedly involved in the mistreatment of a juvenile inmate. "The continued public employment of these individuals is inappropriate, and the decision to charge these offenses as misdemeanors is indefensible," an NAACP news release said. Sgt. Kristin Gillis, corrections officers Rodney Gallaway and Michael Reef and former corrections officer George Isaman each were charged last week with three misdemeanors -- interfering with civil rights, endangering children and dereliction of duty. Sheriff's Maj. Dale Fortney said the department will pursue administrative charges against Gillis, Gallaway and Reef and four other corrections officers reportedly involved in the incident. Gillis, Gallaway and Reef have been reassigned to jail posts that do not put them in contact with inmates, pending the resolution of their criminal and administrative charges. Sheriff Steve Sheldon said the process is not over. "The administrative hearings have yet to take place," he said.
The four are accused of leaving a 17-year-old inmate, who later was convicted of felonious assault and aggravated burglary, in the recreation area with two of the overhead doors open during "extreme cold" temperatures for about two and a half hours Jan. 26. "To deliberately expose him to below-freezing temperatures while barefoot, wearing the jail uniform and restrained to a chair can be described as nothing short of criminal," the NAACP news release said. "The outcome of this case demonstrates a systemic inability to discern what does and does not constitute inhumane treatment and spotlights an outrageous abuse of power and authority." The four charged will make their initial appearances in Mansfield Municipal Court at 10 a.m. Thursday. "I have a real question mark," local NAACP president Marcia Webb said. "It was a calculated action. I think it rises far above a misdemeanor charge." Sheldon explained the process. "It was a joint investigation by the sheriff's office and the FBI," Sheldon said. "The law director's office made the decisions (about charges)." First Assistant Prosecutor Brent Robinson said the case was not presented to his office. "There is no felony to charge them with," he said. "The sheriff knew, as well as we did, there was no felony offense. "What would you charge them with? Felonious assault would need serious physical harm. Dereliction of duty is a misdemeanor." Robinson said assault against a peace officer is a felony, but the same does not necessarily hold true for assaults against inmates. "I still believe that there needs to be more stern action taken, so incidents like this aren't repeated," Webb said.
Gillis has been with the sheriff's office for 22 years, Reef, four years; and Gallaway, three years. Isaman retired this spring. BY: Mark Caudill Comment here
Harvey, Illinois officer George L. Oliver III back in jail after repeatedly contacting woman he allegedly assaulted June 20, 2011 A Harvey police officer is back in jail after a Will County judge more than doubled his bail. George L. Oliver III, 39, was arrested in May and charged with driving his Chevrolet Tahoe into a Cadillac driven by his ex-girlfriend. He was indicted earlier this month for criminal damage to property, aggravated assault and reckless conduct. Court records show he left custody on $30,000 bail a few days after his arrest. However, Oliver was told not to have any contact with his ex-girlfriend as a condition of that release. Last week, Will County prosecutors asked a judge to increase Oliverâ€˜s bail, claiming he contacted the woman repeatedly since then.
Judge Carla Alessio-Policandriotes agreed and increased Oliver‘s bail to $75,000. He returned to the jail Thursday and remained there Monday morning, according to the Will County Sheriff‘s Office. He is expected back in court July 19. Prosecutors say Oliver became upset May 23 because his ex-girlfriend ended their relationship, and he followed her in his Tahoe as she drove away from her home in University Park. Oliver then drove his sport-utility vehicle into her car, which also carried the woman‘s two children. A Harvey police spokeswoman said Oliver has been suspended without pay. BY: Jon Seidel Comment here
Prostitution ring case postponed for former Pittsburgh narcotics detective Talib Kevin Ghafoor June 20, 2011 A preliminary hearing for a former Pittsburgh narcotics detective charged with orchestrating a Moon prostitution ring has again been postponed. Talib Kevin Ghafoor, 55, was originally scheduled to appear before Magisterial District Judge Mary Murray today in Coraopolis District Court on charges that he organized a prostitution ring and purchased online advertisements for prostitutes. The hearing has been rescheduled for August 2. Moon Police earlier this month charged Ghafoor with two counts of third degree felony promoting prostitution, two counts of felony criminal conspiracy, four counts of felony corrupt organization and two counts of possessing instruments of crime. This is the second Moon prostitution incident in which Ghafoor has been charged. Police first arrested the former Pittsburgh Officer of the Year in March during an undercover prostitution sting. Police accused him in March of driving his fiance to a Moon hotel to have sex for money with an undercover Moon detective.
Ghafoor was charged with with three counts of felony prostitution and criminal conspiracy as well as one count of misdemeanor possessing instruments of crime after the March incident. He is scheduled to face a formal arraignment today on those charges in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. Ghafoor resigned from the Pittsburgh Police Department in 2008 after more than 20 years with the department. He resigned while being investigated for giving contradictory testimony in a homicide investigation. He was not charged with wrongdoing in the incident. Ghafoor's defense attorney Frank Walker has said that Ghafoor will plead not guilty to all charges. BY: Jenna Staul Comment here
Nashville officer Richard Wilson remains in jail on charges he helped cocaine dealers in exchange for money June 21, 2011 Richard Wilson was led weeping from a federal courtroom Monday after a judge ordered that the decommissioned Nashville police officer remain behind bars pending a trial on charges that he attempted to assist cocaine dealers in exchange for cash. Wilson pleaded not guilty to the charges. Wilsonâ€˜s pregnant wife and older brother testified on his behalf, but U.S. Magistrate Judge John S. Bryant was not convinced that he did not pose a danger to the community after allegedly accepting money from undercover federal agents and transporting what he believed to be cocaine while armed. Co-defendant Michael Dwayne Wray also was denied pretrial release. Adam Yates, who was accused of playing a smaller role in the alleged scheme, was released on a $25,000 bond. The three were charged after a Metro and FBI sting operation that targeted Wilson, who had a checkered sixyear career with the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department.
The operation got under way after Wilson provided confidential information to an informant who paid him $300 to run a license plate through law enforcement databases, an FBI agent testified at Monday‘s detention hearing. Wilson — sometimes on duty and in his police car — proceeded to transport money and what he believed to be cocaine for undercover agents he believed to be drug traffickers, according to the charges, and ultimately enlisted the help of Wray and Yates as the sting operation progressed. During the hearing Monday, prosecutors played a damning video filmed secretly last week while the three defendants met with undercover agents and plotted the delivery of what was purported to be 25 kilograms of cocaine. Asked by the undercover agents what would happen if he got pulled over with the purported drugs, Wilson said, ―I‘ve got a badge,‖ and noted that he had his police uniform and a shotgun with him. ―His plan was to badge his way out of it,‖ Assistant U.S. Attorney Scarlett Singleton said at the hearing. ―This was a huge amount of purported cocaine that (Wilson and Wray) were willing to put on the street. ... (Wilson) totally abandoned the oath of office he took to protect the citizens of Nashville.‖ The defendants assured the undercover agents that they were armed, the video showed. Wilson was arrested later the same night when he went to Union Station to get paid. Authorities allege that Wilson, who has two sons and a third child on the way, accepted a total of nearly $25,000 over the course of the sting. Arguing that their clients did not pose a risk to the community, attorneys for Wilson and Wray noted that the charges did not involve any actual drugs or drug dealers and argued that the government was able to manipulate the seriousness of the offenses by choosing the quantities of purported cocaine involved.
Bryant, however, said it makes little difference whether the drugs were real since it appears the men were armed and prepared to use their guns to protect the deliveries. Suspect suspended 11 days in six years A review of Wilson‘s personnel file at the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department reveals a mixed record. He received middling performance evaluations, a handful of commendations and was suspended a total of 11 days in six years with the department. The longest suspension he received — five days in 2007 — followed a woman‘s complaint that Wilson had sexually assaulted her when he responded to a call for service at her house. Wilson denied the allegations to an investigator and claimed the woman was drunk and behaving inappropriately toward him. Wilson said the woman came to the door with little clothing on, asked him to have sex with her and grabbed his groin area. Wilson was ultimately suspended for failing to take a report on the incident the woman called to report and failing to inform his supervisor about her ―abnormal actions and statements.‖ Wilson initially only told his supervisor that the woman was drunk and flirting with him and withheld the other details, according to the file. Wilson was suspended one day in 2008 for failing to make a court appearance he claimed to have forgotten due to a family medical emergency. Wilson was suspended twice last year. He received a two-day suspension after his failure to handcuff two drunken driving suspects allowed one to escape and forced Wilson to use force to recapture the other. He was suspended for three days when he totaled his police vehicle after losing control of the vehicle because he reached down to pick up a spilled beverage. BY: Brandon Gee Comment here
New Orleans Danziger Seven trials begins this week June 21, 2011 NEW ORLEANS â€” On a brisk January morning in 2007, seven New Orleans police officers waded through a crowd of cheering supporters outside the city's jail to face charges stemming from a deadly encounter with residents on a bridge in Hurricane Katrina's aftermath. Before they were booked, the grim-faced officers accepted hugs and handshakes from fellow cops who shouted, "Heroes! Heroes!" Three of the officers who received the hero's welcome have admitted they were concealing a dark secret the day they surrendered, one so lurid it stunned a city with a long history of police corruption. The other four members of the so-called Danziger Seven â€” named after the bridge where police shot and killed two unarmed people and wounded four others â€” and another police investigator go on trial Wednesday in a federal case that will rehash the most infamous chapter in the city's awful post-Katrina annals and could severely test efforts to mend the police department's frayed relationship with the public. One officer is accused of fatally shooting a mentally disabled man in the back before a sergeant stomped on him. Prosecutors say the same sergeant, armed with an assault rifle, fired on wounded and unarmed people lying on the ground. All are accused of participating in a cover-up that allegedly included a plot to plant a gun, fabricate witnesses and falsify reports. "It's going to be a painful process for this whole community to see the depths to which the police department had fallen to," said Rafael Goyeneche, head of an independent police watchdog group in New Orleans. "But I also think it's absolutely necessary to bring officers who betrayed the public trust to justice."
The group was dubbed the Danziger Seven after they were charged in state court with murder or attempted murder in December 2006, but a judge threw out all the charges in August 2008. Federal authorities then began their own investigation a month later, which led to charges against the Danziger Seven and four others. The Danziger Bridge shootings broke out the morning of Sept. 4, 2005, less than a week after flooding from broken levees plunged New Orleans into chaos. After hearing a radio call that other officers were taking fire, a group of officers working from a makeshift station piled into a rental truck and drove to the bridge, which connects two neighborhoods hit hardest by flooding. Prosecutors' account of what happened next is outlined in court filings that accompanied guilty pleas last year by five former officers, including Danziger Seven members Michael Hunter, Robert Barrios and Ignatius Hills. All five admitted participating in the cover-up. Hunter, who drove the rental truck, says he fired warning shots when he saw a handful of people casually walking on the east side of the bridge. The people scattered and took cover behind a concrete barrier. As the truck stopped, an unidentified sergeant allegedly fired an assault rifle at a man who raised his head above the barrier but didn't appear to be armed. Hunter says he exited the truck and saw the sergeant and at least one other officer firing at the barrier. They initially complied with his order to stop shooting, as he believed there was no threat. But the sergeant "suddenly leaned over the concrete barrier, held out his assault rifle, and, in a sweeping motion, fired repeatedly at the civilians lying wounded on the ground," according to an April 2010 court filing.
Police shot and killed 17-year-old James Brissette on the east side of the bridge. Hunter hitched a ride with a state trooper to the west side of the bridge, where they saw Lance Madison and his 40-year-old mentally disabled brother, Ronald, running away. As the trooper's car stopped, an unnamed officer fired a shotgun at Ronald Madison's back. As Madison lay dying on the pavement, the sergeant repeatedly kicked and stomped on him "with as much force as he could muster," the court filing says. Prosecutors say neither brother was armed. Yet Lance Madison was arrested on charges he tried to kill officers. He was jailed for three weeks but released without being indicted. The officers have claimed they opened fire only after being shot at. They point to testimony less than a month after the shootings by Lance Madison, who said a group of teenagers fired at him and his brother before they encountered police. Prosecutors, however, claim police immediately embarked on a brazen cover-up because they knew they had shot unarmed residents. Jeffrey Lehrmann, a former detective who pleaded guilty to participating in a cover-up, says he helped craft and document false stories about the shootings, using Katrina's hardships as an excuse for gaps in the probe. The remaining four Danziger Seven members — Sgts. Robert Gisevius and Kenneth Bowen, officer Anthony Villavaso and former officer Robert Faulcon — will be tried on charges related to the shootings. Two other officers — retired Sgts. Arthur Kaufman and Gerard Dugue, who investigated the shootings — are charged with participating in a cover-up. Kaufman will be tried along with the four Danziger Seven members. Dugue will be tried separately.
Henry Dean, a New Orleans police commander and president of the local Fraternal Order of Police, said the rank-and-file's support for the accused officers hasn't waned since the day they were greeted with applause outside the jail. "The way it's expressed has changed, that's all," Dean said. But he conceded the Danziger case and several other Justice Department probes of alleged police corruption in New Orleans have eroded the public's trust. "It has made their job a little more difficult," Dean said. A judge has refused to move the trial despite defense claims that the officers can't get a fair trial in New Orleans because of widespread news media coverage of this and other cases, including last year's trial in the post-Katrina death of Henry Glover, 31. A jury convicted a former officer of manslaughter for shooting Glover and found another guilty of burning his body in a car. The judge also has ruled out any general testimony about the chaos after the storm, when helicopters were plucking stranded residents from rooftops, looting was rampant and dead bodies littered the city. Many officers abandoned their posts. Those who stayed endured harsh conditions, with little sleep and few ways to communicate. Andrea Celestine, a sister of Danziger shooting victim James Brissette, said months passed before her family could confirm he was dead. And they didn't know police were responsible until a New Orleans prosecutor approached them about a year after Katrina. She said her mother has waited to hold a funeral until the trial is done. "It's just so senseless," she said. "It's almost like they were using them for target practice." BY: MICHAEL KUNZELMAN Comment here
San Antonio Marine Matthew Cothron assaults New Braunfels officer June 21, 2011 (New Braunfels, TX) -- A New Braunfels Police officer is at home recovering from wounds he sustained when he was attacked by an allegedly intoxicated active duty Marine from San Antonio over the weekend along the banks of the Comal River. The incident happened around 6pm Saturday on the part of the river that sits near Guada Coma Drive. Officers were called to that area for reports of a physical altercation between a male and two females, and the first responding officer stepped into the middle to break-up the fight. But police say the allegedly intoxicated Marine turned on the officer and attacked him, eventually putting him in a headlock, choking him to the point of unconsciousness, and started dragging him towards the river. But the officer was able to fairly quickly regain consciousness, and eventually escaped the choke hold since the man was wet from being in the river. Of course, other officers were already arriving at the scene, and they quickly arrested the Marine, identified as 28-year
old Matthew Cothron of San Antonio. The injured officer, whose name is being withheld for now, was transported to Christus New Braunfels Hospital where he underwent an MRI exam. Meanwhile, Cothron was taken to the Comal County Jail and booked on 1st degree felony charges of aggravated assault against a police officer. He was held for a little more than 12 hours before he posted a 125-thousand dollar bond and was released. Of course, that incident is grabbing the attention of local officials, not just from the police department, but also at City Hall, where there are now renewed calls for further restrictions on behavior along the rivers. That includes a renewed interest in exploring a possible container ban (on aluminum cans), and renewed interest in exploring options like charging for access to parks that provide a way onto the river (like Prince Solms and Hinman Island). Comment here
Former Arvada officer on trial for assaulting citizen and not reporting use of force ARVADA, Colo. -- A former Arvada police officer is on trial this week in Jefferson County Court. He's accused of assaulting a citizen and of failing to report use of force. All of the charges are misdemeanors. Two other officers who were with him that night were initially charged with failure to report, but those charges have been dropped and the officers are now witnesses against former officer Charles Humphrey. Prosecutors say Humphrey hit a man in the face, while the man was handcuffed to be taken to detox, after the man spit at Humphrey. They say Humphrey and the other officers never mentioned the use of force in any of their reports.
The city of Arvada has recently settled a civil lawsuit the man filed against police for $12,500. Defense attorneys say Humphrey did not hit anyone, but simply pushed the man's head away so he could not spit on anyone else. Officer Noah Rolfing, who was with Humphrey that night in January of 2010 told jurors Monday that the man was calm and cooperative until Humphrey and another officer started taunting him. He is expected to testify Tuesday that he was patting down the man and therefore was not in a position to see what Humphrey was doing. http://www.kdvr.com/news/kdvr-former-arvada-officer-on-trial-accused-ofassaulting-citizen-20110620,0,2220776.story Comment here
Former LA officer David John Hammeren indicted child porn possession June 21, 2011 A cardiac technician and former Los Angeles police officer was arrested Tuesday in San Antonio on charges of receiving and possessing child pornography. A federal grand jury last week indicted David John Hammeren, 42, of Helotes, on one count of receiving child porn and three counts of possessing it. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents seized a computer from Hammeren that contained images that included a 9-year-old tied up and sexually assaulted with a dog, the indictment said.
Hammeren, who has no criminal record, was released on $50,000 unsecured bond after a hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge John Primomo. Arraignment was scheduled for June 29. LAPD officials said Hammeren was on their force from 1998 to 2002. If convicted of receiving child porn, Hammeren faces five to 20 years in prison, and if convicted of possession, he faces up to 10 years. BY: Guillermo Contreras Comment here
Judge refuses to throw out Kenneth Bowen's case June 21, 2011 NEW ORLEANS (AP) â€” A federal judge has refused to throw out the indictment against one of five current or former New Orleans police officers whose trial on charges stemming from deadly shootings on a bridge in Hurricane Katrina's aftermath is scheduled to start this week. In a ruling filed Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt rejected Sgt. Kenneth Bowen's claim that federal prosecutors improperly used his 2006 testimony before a state grand jury under an immunity deal and tainted the case. State charges against Bowen and six other officers were dismissed in 2008, but he and five others were charged last year in the fatal shootings of two unarmed people and wounding of four others on the Danziger Bridge after the 2005 storm. Jury selection for the trial is scheduled to start Wednesday. http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Judge-refuses-to-quashofficer-s-indictment-1433765.php Comment here
Second Baltimore officer, Jermaine Rice, pleads guilty in towing scandal June 21, 2011 The second of 17 Baltimore police officers charged with extortion in an alleged kickback scheme involving a towing company pleaded guilty in federal court on Tuesday, according to the Maryland U.S. Attorney‘s Office. Officer Jermaine Rice, 28, of Woodstock, faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced Sept. 23. His colleague, Officer David Reeping, 41, pleaded guilty to the same charge on June 8. The officers were arrested in February as part of a sweeping indictment involving widespread corruption on the force. Many of the officers were assigned to the Northeast District. An additional 14 officers who were implicated were suspended but not criminally charged. Federal prosecutors allege that the officers directed motorists involved in car accidents or with stranded vehicles to Majestic Towing in Rosedale, saying company officials would waive towing fees, help them with insurance and save them money hauling their cars using the city‘s designated ―medallion‖ towing companies. Prosecutors said many unsuspecting drivers took the officer‘s up on their offer, not knowing they were skirting the rules by using an unapproved company. The indictments allege Majestic owners paid the officers $300 for each car steered to their shop. Rice admitted in court to running the scheme between July 2010 and Feb. 2011. The plea agreement says that Rice pocketed $1,500 in kickbacks from the repair shop owners. Rice‘s attorney, Richard Seligman, did not return calls for comment. BY: Peter Hermann Comment here
Former Jacksonville officer Carl Kohn sentenced to 10 years for intent to distribute 5 kilograms of cocaine June 21, 2011 JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A former Jacksonville police officer was sentenced Monday to 10 years in federal prison and a five-year term of supervised release for attempting to possess with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine. Carl Kohn, 42, has been in custody in connection with the case since April 2010. He pleaded guilty on July 30. According to court documents, in January 2010, Kohn approached someone to try to buy 2 kilograms of powder cocaine for distribution in Jacksonville. After Kohn made several unsuccessful attempts to collect money for the cocaine purchase, he offered to transport cocaine in exchange for payment, according to the documents. On March 25, 2010, Kohn began planning and coordinating with another person the transportation of 5 kilograms of cocaine from Daytona to Jacksonville for payment, according to the documents. The other person, who prosecutors did not identify, and Kohn agreed that Kohn would be paid $500 per kilogram for a total of $2,500 for his transportation services in this transaction, according to the documents. According to court documents, on April 19, 2010, Kohn began negotiating with another person to pick up and transport 10 kilograms of cocaine in exchange for payment. After subsequent investigation and facilitation of the transactions, Kohn was arrested. http://www.news4jax.com/news/28307324/detail.html Comment here
Franklin County Sheriff's deputy Steven Overturf on paid leave after being accused of drunk driving June 21, 2011 FRANKLIN COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - A Franklin County Sheriff's deputy is on paid administrative leave after he is accused of drunk driving. Steven Overturf, 33, or rural Franklin County was cited with reckless driving and DUI. An Illinois Department of Natural Resources officer was on patrol Friday night in the Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park at Rend Lake. Sgt. Tony Rendleman with IDNR says around 11:30 p.m. he watched a car come out of the campground, miss the turn, and drive into a ditch. Rendleman says Overturf got out of the car and appeared to be intoxicated. Overturf has been a deputy at the Franklin County Sheriff's Department since 2006. He was not on duty at the time. Rendleman says Overturf was taken to the Franklin County Jail. Franklin County Sheriff Don Jones says Overturf was placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation. Jones says possible disciplinary action may follow.
Rendleman says once the report is complete, they plan to hand deliver it to the Franklin County Stateâ€˜s Attorney later this week. BY: Christy Hendricks Comment here
Update: Former St. Louis officer Steven L. Park risks losing driver's license after DUI June 21, 2011 CLAYTON â€˘ A former St. Louis County police officer faces the loss of his driver's license for refusing to take a breath test after being stopped on suspicion of drunk driving. Steven L. Park, 31, of St. Louis, is fighting the state department of revenue to get his license back, and a hearing on the matter is scheduled for August 18. The court issued a stay order, meaning Park can continue driving while the case is pending. One of Park's fellow officers arrested him shortly after 4 a.m. June 8 near Gravois Road and Philo Avenue in the Affton area. The fellow patrolman
as conducting speed enforcement and spotted Park's car going 57 mph in a 30 mph zone. Police said Park refused a breath test and field sobriety test, but smelled strongly of alcohol, had bloodshot eyes, and spoke with slowed, deliberate, and occasionally slurred words, according to the arrest report. Police seized the arrested officer's loaded .38-caliber Ruger pistol from his pocket. Park faces citations for speeding and drunk driving and a possible weapons charge for possessing the loaded gun while intoxicated. Park resigned from the department after his arrest. Joyce Kelley, a prosecutor with the St. Louis County Counselor's office, said Park had not yet been formally charged but such cases typically take a couple weeks to process. A spokesperson with the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney's office said they had not yet been presented with the case. A motorist's drivers license can be revoked for one year if the driver refuses to take a breathalyzer test to measure blood alcohol content. Park filed a petition to fight revocation of his license, according to court records. http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/article_d0dabba89c26-11e0-8f82-001a4bcf6878.html Comment here
Calloway County Fish & Wildlife officer Brad Lowe arrested for supplying minor with alcohol June 21, 2011 A Calloway County Fish & Wildlife officer was arrested in Lexington recently for allegedly supplying a minor with alcohol. Kathy Johnson, assistant director of public relations for the University of Kentucky‘s main campus news bureau, confirmed Monday that Calloway County resident Brad Lowe was charged with public intoxication and endangering the welfare of a minor. Lowe is an officer with Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources, she said. Johnson said this was all the information that UK Chief of Police Joe Monroe had released to her and that she did not know the date or location of the arrest, or the circumstances of the arrest. Monroe could not be reached for further comment Friday or Monday. Gary Clark, public information officer for KDFWR District 1, said he was not authorized to release any information concerning the incident and referred questions to department spokesman Mark Marraccini in Frankfort. Marraccini said Lowe has been placed on administrative leave with pay pending the results of the filed charges and of an internal KDFWR investigation. ―It‘s procedure to put him on administrative leave at this point while we conduct an investigation from the perspective of administration,‖ Marraccini said. ―We have very high standards for our law enforcement officers. They are an exceptionally professional unit and extremely well trained. Everybody has got to remember that these are still charges at this point. We will let those charges play out and the result of those will certainly play into our investigation.‖ BY: HAWKINS TEAGUE Comment here
Update: Oxnard officer Edward Idukas pleads not guilty to workers compensation fraud June 21, 2011 An Oxnard police officer pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges that he committed workers compensation fraud. Edward Idukas, 26, appeared in front of Ventura County Superior Court Judge Edward Brodie and entered not-guilty pleas to five counts of workers compensation insurance fraud. Idukas is scheduled to appear in court Sept. 9 for an early disposition conference. Idukas was arrested last week after an investigation found he was regularly playing baseball in a local league while collecting disability benefits from the city of Oxnard, prosecutors said. Senior Deputy District Attorney Ernesto Acosta said Idukas had just returned from a previous injury when he claimed he was hurt on the job. Idukas was placed on temporary totally disabled status when he reported injuring his back while bending over at his police locker on Dec. 39, 2009. He complained to doctors and physical therapists that he was too disabled to continue his duties as an officer, prosecutors said. Acosta said Idukas could face a maximum of three years in state prison and a $150,000 fine for each count. Idukas also could be ordered to pay about $70,000 in restitution if convicted. Idukas was a traffic assistant with the Oxnard Police Department before he became a police officer in 2007. He was assigned to the patrol services division. Idukas has no prior criminal record, Acosta said. BY: Marjorie Hernandez Comment here
Rochester PD investigating Emily Good's arrest for filming officer at traffic stop June 21, 2011 The Rochester Police Department is investigating the arrest of a woman who was videotaping police during a traffic stop in front of a home on Aldine Street. Emily Good, 28, was arrested at about 10 p.m. May 12 and charged with second-degree obstructing governmental administration. She is scheduled to appear in Rochester City Court for a proceeding on June 27, police said. Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard issued a statement Tuesday, saying he has received a video of a woman‘s arrest by city officers. ―I have researched the incident and determined that the case is currently proceeding through the adjudication process,‖ Sheppard said in the statement. ―… With the case still pending and my unfamiliarity with the specific details, any assumptions at this time would be premature.‖ The department‘s professional standards section has not received a formal complaint, Sheppard said. The video, which has been distributed online through various social media sites, shows a police officer telling the person filming to go inside her home while she is videotaping. The unnamed officer told her several times that he did not feel safe. The incident has drawn the attention of the National Press Photographers Association Inc., based in Durham, N.C. In a letter to Sheppard and Rochester Mayor Tom Richards, NPPA General Counsel Mickey H. Osterreicher of Buffalo wrote: ―While it may be understandable that your officers had a heightened sense of awareness, that is still no excuse for them to not recognize a citizen‘s right to take photographs/video of an event occurring on a public street.‖
He also said events such as this involving police and citizens ―are happening across the country on almost a daily basis.‖ Osterreicher has offered meet with Sheppard and/or police department staff to review police policy. NPPA also wants the charge against Good dropped. ―I haven‘t heard any response from him or the mayor, as of yet,‖ Osterreicher said Tuesday evening. Sheppard said he has directed the professional standards section to begin an internal investigation of the incident. ―I can assure you that our investigation will be impartial, thorough, and complete,‖ Sheppard said. BY: Gary McLendon Comment here
Former North Little Rock officer Oather Lee Fulmer indicted on charges from meth sting June 21, 2011 Little Rock A former North Little Rock police officer and member of their SWAT team is now accused of breaking the law. Oather Lee Fulmer, 44, actually resigned
from the force in 2002, following an internal investigation. Tuesday, he was in a federal courtroom, indicted along with nineteen others in the recent meth sting we told you about, called, "Operation Big Winner." Channel Seven News learned late Tuesday that Fulmer also has a criminal history. His latest brush with the law alleges that he was in a group that was involved in smuggling meth from Mexico to Central Arkansas. Fulmer's was in court for plea and arraignment on charges related to possession and distribution of meth. Lea Ellen Fowler, his defense attorney, briefly commented on the case after court, "We entered a plea of not guilty, requested a jury trial. The government is asking for him to be detained so we're trying to work out a date to have a detention hearing," she said. Ironically, Fulmer is now being held with the same kind of people he used to track down. "He was a former North Little Rock Police Officer," Fowler confirmed. Fulmer worked for the North Little Rock Police Department from 1990 to 2002 and was even a member of the SWAT Team during the latter part of his tenure. Police officials say he quit during an internal investigation that was apparently dropped in a "no finding of fault" since he had resigned. Officials are not commenting on the specifics of that investigation. Records indicate Fulmer also served time in the Arkansas Department of Correction for various drug crimes in 2005. His attorney says she will vigorously pursue his defense. "I'm going to have to get with him and talk about the circumstances. I haven't received any discovery materials yet. At this time, I'm not in a position to comment further on the allegations," she said.
Fulmer's trial is set for late July. Meanwhile, the final suspect in the case, Aleshia Johnston, has not been arrested, yet. BY: Pam Smith Comment here
South Padre Island shooting by Naval Petty Officer Richard Kenneth Biffle instigated by racial slur June 21, 2011 SOUTH PADRE ISLAND â€” Police say a racial slur instigated a disturbance on June 11 that ended with a U.S. Coast Guard petty officer firing his gun inside a local karaoke bar. South Padre Island police arrested and charged Petty Officer 2nd Class Richard Kenneth Biffle, 25, of Galveston, with deadly conduct, after police say he fired a gun, during the disturbance. Police said the gun is not registered to Biggle. Police Chief Randy Smith said that, after reviewing the evidence, investigators found that another man who was with Biffle at the Coral Reef Lounge had made a racial slur during his karaoke rendition. Smith said the comment upset other patrons and led to the disturbance. Biffle and his friend were beaten up by bar patrons, Smith said, and Biffle ran from the bar to get a gun. Biffle told police he fired the gun because he feared for his life, Smith said. No injuries were reported during the bar fight. Smith said investigators could not find a permit for Biffleâ€˜s gun.
Biffleâ€˜s charge of deadly conduct stands, Smith said, and Biffle will need to justify his actions in court. BY: ISAAC GARCIA Comment here
Wheeling Army sergeant Richard Evick accused of bribery and money laundering June 21, 2011 WHEELING, W.Va. -- An Army sergeant and his associate have been accused in a federal indictment of bribery and money laundering. The 11-count grand jury indictment unsealed Tuesday alleged that Sgt. 1st Class Richard Evick, 41, of Parsons, W.Va., received more than $170,000 in bribes from two companies that had U.S. Department of Defense contracts in Kuwait. It also accuses Crystal Martin, 48, of Pontiac, Mich., of laundering the money through bank accounts in Kuwait and the U.S. The FBI arrested the defendants Tuesday, federal prosecutors said in a news release. Martin made her initial appearance in U.S. District Court on Tuesday, and Evick is expected to make his initial appearance Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Raleigh, N.C. BY: The Associated Press Comment here
Hancock County firefighters Clarence "Zeke" Hall and Vincent Reiber charged with child exploitation June 21, 2011 HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) Two Bayside volunteer firefighters are being charged with exploitation of a child after an incident at the firehouse. The Hancock County Sheriff's Department said Vincent Reiber, 25, was arrested Saturday, and is scheduled to make his initial court appearance today. Clarence "Zeke" Hall, 35, is expected to turn himself over to authorities soon, according to his lawyer. Both men are accused of inappropriate acts with three juvenile females. Investigators said the acts occurred in May at the Bayside Volunteer Fire Department. They said several other firefighters were also present during the incident and may face misdemeanor charges.
The chief of the department was not present or involved, and officials say he is cooperating with the investigation. The Hancock County Sheriff's Department seized several cameras and computers as evidence. "The 'heroes' of this community are always held to a higher standard. But whether they are a fire fighter, law officer, or paramedic, it is the responsibility of the individual to remain professional at all times," Investigator Brandon Normand said. "Any and all individual actions that violate the law and/or professionalism of our local 'heroes' will be investigated and proper action will be taken by this office." Both men face a fine of $500,000 and 40 years in prison, if convicted. Al Showers will have more on this story later today on WLOX News and WLOX.com. http://www.wlox.com/Global/story.asp?S=14949067 Comment here
Fort Cambell soldier Brent Burke could get walk away from double-slaying charges June 21, 2011 HARDIN COUNTY, Ky. -- A Fort Campbell soldier charged in a double slaying may have spent his last night in jail. In September 2007, the bodies of Tracy Burke and her former mother-inlaw, Karen Comer, were found shot to death inside Comer's Rineyville home. The victimâ€˜s 9-year-old child called 911 and said he witnessed the slayings of his mother and grandmother.
Tracy Burke‘s husband, Brent Burke, a military police officer at Fort Campbell, was arrested and charged and charged in the slayings. Tracy and Brent Burke were three days away from a divorce. Years later, that child took the stand and looked directly into the face of the man he said fired the shots. ―I believe you said that Brent shot Momma Tracy?‖ the prosecutor asked the child in March 2011. ―Yes,‖ the child responded. Tracy Burke's father blamed himself. ―She said, ‗Dad, I'm really scared.‘ I should have went and got her. It's what I should have done. If I went and got her, this wouldn't have happened,‖ David Wilburn, Tracy Burke‘s father, said. Brent Burke maintained his innocence, but his trek through the court system was long. The first two trials never made it out of the jury selection phase. The second two ended in hung juries. Now, Burke is on the verge of freedom; not by acquittal, but by dismissal of the charges. Commonwealth‘s Attorney Chris Shaw concluded he doesn't have enough evidence to force a fifth trial right now. The charges are expected to be dismissed without prejudice. That means the prosecutor can reopen the case if new evidence comes to light. For Brent Burke, it means he could walk free as early as Tuesday afternoon after the judge signs the paperwork. Brent Burke is legally entitled to be restored back to his former life. That means, he should be able to return to work as an MP at Ft. Campbell and he's entitled to back pay for the last four years.
He could file lawsuits against the state for wrongful imprisonment, malicious prosecution, slander and defamation of character. There's also the issue of his two children, one of who testified against him in court saying it was Brent Burke who killed his mother and Comer. ―It's my understanding he has children. I'm sure he's not had much contact with them, so he would have the right to petition a family court judge for the right to restore his visitation and relationship with his children in stages,‖ said attorney Frank Mascagni, who has no affiliation with the case. Judge Kelly Mark Easton will make his ruling on the case at a hearing at 1:30 p.m. WLKY‘s Eric King and Erin Haynes are at the courthouse and will have live updates on WLKY.com as the afternoon unfolds. http://www.wlky.com/r/28307905/detail.html Comment here
Easton officers Thomas Beiser and Russell Demko charged with public drunkeness June 21, 2011 Two off-duty Easton police officers -- including one recognized by a community group as the city's police officer of the year -- have been charged with public drunkenness and disorderly conduct following an incident Saturday at a hotel in Carbon County, Easton police said this afternoon in a news release.
Kidder Township police cited officers Thomas Beiser and Russell Demko about 8 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Express. Easton Police Capt. Michael Vangelo said both officers are currently working and there is no change to their statuses with the department. He said they are not currently suspended because the outcome of the internal investigation has not been completed. Vangelo said if the officers were suspended without pay now then that could be considered their punishment even if further reprimands were needed. "They will be held accountable," Vangelo said. "We won't do that until we complete everything. This is top priority for us." Easton Mayor Sal Panto Jr. said the department must handle this incident differently because the officers were off duty. "If it had been on-duty, they would have been immediately suspended," Panto said. Vangelo said he "does not speak lightly" about the alleged offenses, but summary charges would not prompt the Pennsylvania Municipal Police Officers' Education and Training Commission to pull their police certifications. However, Vangelo said that any discipline from the department could be up to and including termination. "Anything is on the table," Vangelo said. Information on the incident was not available this afternoon from Kidder Township police and Panto did not know the details. Panto said the incident did not involve any other police officers or civilians. Panto said he was "shocked" to learn about the incident, which involved two of the city's "finer officers." "I think it's a black eye on the department and the city," Panto said. "We will be coming down hard." Beiser and Demko were issued summary citations.
A news release from the Easton Police Department says they will have the option of either pleading guilty or requesting a summary trial before a Carbon County district judge. Demko has been with the department since 2007, and Beiser has served since 2002. Beiser last month was honored by the Kiwanis Club of Easton as the officer of the year. Beiser did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment. Demko could not be reached for comment. http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/easton/index.ssf/2011/06/two_offduty_easton_police_off.html Comment here
Former Scottsbluff officer Tyler Reinpold charged with 10 counts of child porn June 21, 2011 SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. (AP) â€” A former Scottsbluff police officer is charged with 10 counts of possession of child pornography after images were allegedly discovered on his computer. KNEB radio says 26-year-old Tyler Reinpold of Mitchell, was charged earlier this month. He was released on bond following his first appearance in Scotts Bluff County court. The Nebraska State Patrol says in court documents that a relative discovered the images in August 2010 while he was fixing Reinpold's computer. Reinpold was a Scottsbluff police officer for about three years before leaving in January.
Reinpold's attorney, Sterling Huff, of Gering, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he had no comment on the case. Reinhold's next court hearing is July 6. http://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Ex-Neb-police-officer-charged-inchild-porn-case-1434181.php Comment here
David Rogers claims two jailers at Cherokee County Detention Center broke his leg in attack June 21, 2011 Murphy – An Andrews man alleges that he was brutally attacked by two jailers at the Cherokee County Detention Center, resulting in a severely broken leg. David Rogers, 47, claims the jailers attacked him without provocation once he was placed in a cell on the evening of June 6. Sheriff Keith Lovin and Chief Deputy Joe Wood have contacted the Haywood County Sheriff‘s Office to investigate the incident. Rogers said he went to his ex-wife‘s house in Andrews, and she ran outside yelling that she would call the law on him. Cherokee County sheriff‘s Deputy Jeremy Payne arrested him, then transported him to jail. He was handcuffed in the patrol car. Payne drove Rogers to the detention center. Once he was placed in a jail cell, two jailers came in. One grabbed Rogers by the back of the head and slammed his head against the wall, Rogers said, while he was still handcuffed, and he didn‘t do anything physically threatening to the jailers. Rogers added that he had never seen the two men. One jailer jerked him away from the wall and threw him on the floor, Rogers said.
Then, the jailer fell on him with a knee, driving it into his back near his shoulders. The other jailer then grabbed his left foot and jerked his leg up and back. ―I said, ‗Please quit. You broke my leg,‘ ‖ Rogers said. One of the jailers unlocked his handcuffs and they threw an orange jump suit on the floor, which he struggled to put it on. ―I knew my left leg was broke,‖ Rogers said. ―I beat on the window for attention to tell them I needed to go to a doctor.‖ Rogers said he was transported to Murphy Medical Center in Peachtree and then to Mission Memorial Hospital in Asheville, where doctors performed surgery at 1:11 a.m. June 7. He said he was bruised all over and an X-ray showed that his femur bone was bent. A rod was placed into his leg to straighten the bone. Rogers‘ sister, Carol Gunter, said her brother‘s bond was originally set at $4,000 secured, but a deputy came to the Asheville hospital and wanted them to sign a paper reducing his bond to $1,500 unsecured, and he wouldn‘t have to go back to jail. Gunter said she called the jail at 12:15 a.m. June 7. She was told what her brother was charged with and that he would be sent to the hospital because he was complain-ing of hip pain. She was told that an officer fell on him, and they heard something pop. They also told her Rogers was combative. Gunter said both of Rogers‘ elbows were skinned and he had bruises in several places. There was a ―big, blue spot around his belly button‖ and the print of a boot in his side. Rogers‘ father, Bob Rogers, said his son was at his house on June 6 and he was physically OK.
Wood said he verified through a video that Rogers wasn‘t handcuffed in his cell. ―Typically, we get an agency from upstate to [investigate allegations against sheriff‘s officials],‖ Wood said. ―We are staying completely out of it until [the investigation] is done. I have a video from the time he walked in the front door until the time he went to change.‖ Wood added that there have been no other complaints against the two veteran detention officers. Rogers was charged with simple possession of a Schedule VI controlled substance, second-degree trespass and communicating threats, according to a sheriff‘s arrest report. An incident report by Payne said he was dispatched to an Andrews home about 6:12 p.m. June 6 because someone was threatening someone else. When he arrived at the home, a woman was screaming and two men were pinned against a fence beside the house. Payne noticed that Rogers was extremely intoxicated, he wrote. Rogers was wearing a gun belt, but the gun was missing from it. Payne saw a gun and picked it up. Rogers‘ ex-wife told Payne that Rogers came up her driveway threatening to kill her. Her boyfriend then arrived and Rogers reached toward his waistband and uncovered a pistol, Payne wrote. As Rogers tried to remove the pistol from its holster, her boyfriend grabbed his hand and took the pistol from him. He also had a fixed blade knife on his gun belt, which was removed the report says. Payne found .22 caliber ammunition on Rogers and a pill bottle containing many small cigarette-like items used during inhalation of marijuana, a clear plastic bag containing two grams of what is believed to be marijuana, along with a fixed blade knife sheath and a black belt with a single-revolver holster.
Rogers said he drank a few beers that day but he was not intoxicated. ―I‘d like to see this brought to justice. I haven‘t contacted a lawyer yet,‖ Rogers said. Gunter said Rogers‘ doctor told him that he would ―be down‖ for three months, and he might never be able to go back to work full time for Parker & Reichman, a chicken egg farm. ―They are going to do this to someone else,‖ Rogers said. ―They may leave someone a vegetable or kill someone.‖ Rogers‘ said he is scheduled to be in court Wednesday, July 6. BY: DWIGHT OTWELL Comment here
Southbury officer Anton Tchorzyk commits suicide June 21, 2011 SOUTHBURY -- A Southbury police officer was discovered dead Monday in his Watertown home, apparently of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, said First Selectman Bill Davis. Davis told The Republican-American that Anton Tchorzyk was found by an officer dispatched to his house to check on his well-being after he failed to show up for his overnight shift Sunday. According to State Police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance, an investigation was under way. He said Western District Major Crime Squad investigators are still awaiting autopsy results from the state medical examiner's office. Tchorzyk was suspended from the force in September after he was charged with disorderly conduct. The nine-year veteran of the department had previously completed a family violence treatment program following a January 2010 arrest.
"He had been on leave. He was arrested last year for a domestic dispute," Davis said. "He's been undergoing counseling for alcohol abuse and an anger management program. We thought he was well past that." Davis said under the terms of the program, Tchorzyk submitted a progress report to his office each month. "It's a tragic incident. Our hearts go out to the family. It's really a sad state of affairs," he said. " http://www.newstimes.com/news/article/Southbury-cop-found-dead1432872.php Comment here
Former St. Charles Parish Sheriff's lieutenant Warren LeBeauf pleads guilty to tax fraud June 21, 2011 A former St. Charles Parish Sheriff's lieutenant and his wife, who owned an accounting service company, pleaded guilty to fraud in federal court on Monday for filing false federal tax returns and collecting more than $800,000 using the names of inmates held in the parish jail, according to U.S. Attorney Jim Letten's office. The couple is said to have filed false tax returns over a 10-month period from about April 8, 2005 to about Feb. 20, 2006. Lt. Warren LeBeauf Jr., 42, and his wife, Tamara Scott-Landry, 37, entered the guilty plea the morning of their trial before U. S. District Judge Carl Barbier, authorities said. The two were charged May 6, 2010 in an 88-count indictment and are set for sentencing on the charges on Sept. 22 before Barbier.
They face a maximum of 10 years on the conspiracy to commit fraud charge, a fine of $250,000 and up to three years of probation. Scott-Landry, who also pleaded guilty to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, faces a maximum 20 years on the wire fraud charge and a mandatory two years added to any sentence she receives for the aggravated identity theft charge. LeBeauf, who had been employed by the Sheriff's Office since 1989 and worked as a resource officer at Destrehan High School, was terminated July 30, 2010 for violating department policies, said St. Charles Sheriff's Office spokesman Capt. Pat Yoes. According to federal authorities, LeBeauf used a law enforcement data base to obtain personal information on inmates such as Social Security number and birth date and passed it along to Scott-Landry to make fraudulent income tax refund claims. Authorities say that LeBeauf met a St. Charles Sheriff's Office 911 call center operator at a park and paid $100 for more than 4,000 pages of print outs from that law enforcement database which was used to fraudulently collect approximately $810,183 in income tax refunds. Yoes said the operator, who had worked for the department for nearly 30 years, resigned July 2, 2010 before disciplinary action could be taken against her. The tax forms filed electronically with the IRS made the returns payable to cashiers checks and stored valued cards. The money was then deposited into bank accounts controlled by LeBeauf and Scott-Landry, authorities said. According to the indictment, the individual tax return amounts ranged from $1,577 to $3,525.
At one point authorities say Scott-Landry withdrew $26,000 in cash over a three-day period from an ATM and the couple went to a Chevrolet dealership and bought a 2004 Chevrolet Suburban "with a paper bag full" of cash. It was in that SUV, parked in the drive way of Scott-Landry's house, that authorities say they found inmate names and other items used in the scam. During the execution of a search warrant, and "in the presence of almost a dozen armed IRS agents," authorities say LeBeauf arrived at the house with an unknown person and attempted to leave with the SUV. The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division which has made investigatin refund fraud and identity theft a top priority said James C. Lee, special agent in charge, IRS criminal investigation. BY: Littice Bacon-Blood Comment here
Orlando man Ronnery Fell speaks out after being shot by police June 21, 2011 ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating a police involved shooting. Police say the officer felt threatened and had no choice, but to fire one shot. The wounded man says there's more to the story. "I thought I was going to die," said Ronnery Fell, who claims he was the victim of police brutality. "That's all I was thinking, they're going to kill me back here."
Fell said he was shot in the chest by one officer, and beaten by several on June 10th, after he was already handcuffed in Parramore. "They were hitting me everywhere, kicking me, kneeing me and punching me," he said. He told FOX 35 on Monday, he spent seven days in the hospital, has three broken ribs, a punctured lung, and, the bullet he was shot with is still inside his chest. He said it didn't stop there. "Afterwards, they picked me up in handcuffs, about three officers, and threw me over this fence for the ambulance to pick me up." A preliminary report released by the Orlando Police department on the night of the shooting states its drug enforcement unit was conducting a drug buy bust operation. It says, an officer shot Fell after he ran from them appeared to, "make some type of movement which the officer perceived to be a threat." Still, Fell insisted on Monday, he didn't deserve to get brutally beaten by more than ten officers. "They were telling me stop resisting, but I was in handcuffs and shot - so you know I wasn't resisting," said Fell, who is being charged with resisting arrest without violence and selling marijuana. "Why didn't they just shoot me with the taser or something?" The FDLE is investigating, and looking into whether excessive force was used by officers. While the Orlando Police Police Department told FOX 35 that they will not comment until the investigation is over, they did confirm that the officer who shot Fell is on administrative leave with pay until the investigation is over - which is standard procedure in any police involved shooting. http://www.myfoxorlando.com/dpp/news/orange_news/062111-shot-bypolice-wounded-man-speaks-out Comment here
State police investigate Cop Cod's trooper's handling of DUI involving officer Travis Tebbetts June 22, 2011 State police have opened an investigation into a trooper's handling of a suspected drunken-driving incident involving an off-duty Orleans police officer. In an emailed response to questions and public-records requests from the Times, state police spokesman David Procopio said certain requested materials could be withheld because of an internal affairs investigation. Last week the Times reported an off-duty Orleans patrolman was disciplined for conduct unbecoming an officer after being stopped while driving erratically in March. The officer, Travis Tebbetts, a six-year veteran of the department, is still on the force and Orleans Police Chief Jeffrey Roy would not say what punishment he received. No criminal charges have been filed against Tebbetts. Roy said there was no way to prove whether or not he was under the influence because a state police trooper did not pursue the matter. According to the investigation by Orleans police released to the Times last week, Tebbetts was drinking beer at the Sons of Erin social club in West Yarmouth on March 6 when another Orleans officer at the bar noticed he appeared sluggish and asked him if he needed a ride. Tebbetts said he was just tired. Soon after, Gordon Gibbons, an off-duty Yarmouth police officer, reported he was following a vehicle that was driving erratically. In his incident report, Gibbons called it the most dangerous display of driving he had ever witnessed. From the poor driving, Gibbons told investigators he believed the driver, who turned out to be Tebbetts, was intoxicated.
Trooper Steven Culver then stopped Tebbetts heading east on Route 6 just before it drops to one lane. Gibbons, who had been exchanging phone calls with Culver when the two were following Tebbetts, said Culver told him Tebbetts was "extremely intoxicated" and confessed to having eight beers, according to the Orleans internal affairs investigation. In the report, Orleans police Sgt. Matthew Watts also says Culver said Tebbetts was intoxicated and his car was being towed. Culver asked Watts to get Tebbetts a ride. Watts called Deputy Chief Scott MacDonald, who told him a ride had been arranged. Chief Roy said there was no field-sobriety test and no Breathalyzer test because Culver never arrested Tebbetts. State police would not answer questions about whether Culver had done any sobriety tests on Tebbetts to confirm the impression he conveyed to other officers that the Orleans officer was intoxicated. MacDonald, who led the internal investigation for Orleans, interviewed Culver five weeks after the incident and the trooper told him he didn't have probable cause to arrest him. Probable cause is a legal term that refers to the degree of protection citizens enjoy by way of the 4th Amendment to the Constitution against unreasonable search and seizure. In practical terms it means an officer must have evidence a person has committed a crime. Lawyers interviewed for this story said that Culver only needed "reasonable suspicion" that Tebbetts was drunk to stop him and conduct a field-sobriety test. For instance, Falmouth police received a call of an erratic vehicle on Route 151 the afternoon of June 15. An officer monitoring the police scanner testified he heard evidence of the poor driving from those following the vehicle.
Officers found the SUV parked in a school parking lot. When the driver was found, a field-sobriety test was administered and the woman was arrested and her purse was searched. The woman was charged with operating under the influence of alcohol and driving to endanger. But no such testing appeared to have occurred in Tebbetts' case, and a check of Orleans District Court records showed no charges or any arraignment of a Travis Tebbetts on either OUI or reckless-driving charges. State police have not answered emailed questions on exactly what Culver did when he stopped Tebbetts. The Times had tried on two occasions to gain access to the state police log for March 6, which is kept at the Yarmouth State Police barracks and required by state law to be available to the public. On both occasions, the reporter was asked to identify himself, why he wanted the log, what the story was about, and to produce identification, all violations of the public records law. He was also denied access to the public log and told he had to make a request through the media-relations department. In the end, the state police did supply the log in response to a written public-records request after a two-week delay. There is very little that is in the log for that day, but Culver's stop of Tebbetts is listed as a disabled motor vehicle, instead of a traffic stop for erratic or drunken driving. It does show the tow truck being called and arriving on scene. BY: Doug Fraser Comment here
Off-duty correctional officer Peter Esparza arrested for shooting at girlfriend June 22, 2011 An off-duty correctional officer was arrested at his home Monday evening on suspicion of drawing his weapon and shooting at his significant other, police said. The bullet reportedly punched through a wall and struck some furniture, but did not hit the unnamed victim. Hanford police arrived on West Willow Drive shortly after 7:46 p.m. and found 42-year-old Peter Esparza pacing in his backyard, said Hanford police Detective Richard Pontecorvo. Police investigators said they believe the incident began as a fight between Esparza and the victim that escalated into physical violence. They would not specify the couple's relationship to protect the alleged victim. The woman sustained bruises and swelling to her face and small cuts along her legs. She declined medical attention at the scene and later went to Adventist Medical Center for treatment, police Lt. George Hernandez said. Officers surrounded the house and located the woman hiding in a bedroom. She told authorities that Esparza took the firearm from his gun safe and fired a single round at her.
"Some alcohol may have been involved," Pontecorvo said. "We're still investigating the case at this point. It's too early to say if there have been other domestic violence calls from this residence." Esparza was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, assault with a firearm, spousal abuse, terrorist threats and using a firearm in the commission of a crime. His bail was set at $705,000. Jail officials said he is scheduled to appear in court for arraignment today at 8:15 a.m. in Superior Courtroom 5. BY: Joe Johnson Comment here
Santa Fe attorney Aaron Boland to sue over DWI incident June 22, 2011 Santa Fe criminal defense attorney Aaron Boland has filed a tort-claim notice stating his intention to sue over his June 10 arrest in downtown Santa Fe by a State Police officer who claimed Boland was obstructing a DWI arrest, The New Mexican reported. Boland, who knew the man who was being arrested on a driving-whileintoxicated charge, said he was just trying to watch the arrest in case he represented the man, identified as Lucas Conley, in court and that the officer became hostile, The New Mexican said. State Police Officer Ben Lopez, however, wrote in his police report that Boland was interfering with the arrest and later egged on the DWI suspect into â€•playing games and yanking my chain,â€– the paper reported.
Boland was booked into the Santa Fe County jail on the morning of June 11, accused of one count of resisting, evading or obstructing an officer, as released on a $2,500 cash or surety bond and is awaiting trial on the misdemeanor charge, according to The New Mexican. ―Although the full extent of the damages is not fully known at this time, Mr. Boland has suffered and will continue to suffer damages in the form of pain and suffering and emotional distress,‖ Boland said on his own behalf in the tort-claim notice delivered to the state Risk Management Division on the Monday following his arrest. Boland went on to claim that Lopez‘s actions have ―threatened Mr. Boland‘s career and reputation, not to mention that the entire experience was traumatizing and humiliating,‖ The New Mexican said. The incident occurred while Lopez was conducting a field sobriety test around 11:45 p.m. June 10 near the intersection of Shelby and East Water streets, after Conley had been pulled over for a broken license-plate light, according to Lopez‘s probable-cause statement for Boland‘s arrest. Lopez, who wrote that Boland ―smelled heavily of alcohol,‖ wrote that ―Mr. Boland‘s actions caused me to become nervous and fear for my personal safety while attempting to execute the lawful discharge of my duties,‖ The New Mexican said. ―The entire incident was on video, and I believe it will show that I was compliant with the officer‘s requests,‖ Boland told The New Mexican on Tuesday. Conley was charged with aggravated DWI after allegedly refusing to take a breath test and was released on a $7,500 bond, the paper reported. http://www.abqjournal.com/main/2011/06/22/abqnewsseeker/santa-feattorney-says-hell-sue-over-dwi-stop-scuffle.html Comment here
Stillwater officer pulls over ambulance to arrest paramedic June 22, 2011 Stillwater, Okla. â€” An officer serving a felony warrant pulled over an ambulance to arrest a paramedic, according to KFOR-TV. LifeNet General manager Kelly McCauley told the station that having an ambulance pulled over -- and especially having an employee arrested -was "unusual, unheard of" and "a completely new thing for our company." The warrant for Timothy Grauberger, 38, was issued after it was discovered that he had written a bogus check in March. Captain Randy Dickerson of the Stillwater Police Department called the arrest "an unfortunate situation." He added there was no patient in the ambulance at the time, and if there had been, things would have been handled differently. Police say they needed to take Grauberger into custody, no matter the circumstance. http://www.policeone.com/patrol-issues/articles/3870608-Police-pull-overambulance-to-arrest-Okla-medic/ Comment here
Fulton County jail officer likely smuggled gun used to shoot inmate Tuesday June 22, 2011 ATLANTA -- A former chief jailer told Channel 2 Action News that it was likely a Fulton County jail officer who smuggled in the gun used to shoot an inmate Tuesday. "An inmate with a gun is an absolute catastrophe," said Charles Felton. He spent more than 40 years in corrections, half of those running jails around the country, including two stints running the Fulton County jail. He told investigative reporter Jodie Fleischer that he was shocked to hear one inmate shot another in the hand after an argument. During his tenure in multiple jails, Felton said he has never found a gun in jail. "We've found homemade knives and other contraband. Drugs, what have you, but never, never a gun," he said. A sheriff's spokesman said shooting suspect Kortez Hurt somehow got a gun, even though he's housed in a maximum security area where inmates are not even allowed physical contact with their visitors. "In many ways, they were fortunate because an inmate with a gun could take a hostage and escape from the jail." Last year, Channel 2 exposed other contraband found during jail cell searches including scissors, knives, drugs, and cell phones. Last fall, Sheriff Ted Jackson disbanded his Special Operations Response Team, which did many of those searches. "I would say given the history of the Fulton County Jail and the fact that officers bringing contraband in drugs cell phones what have you, in all probability, an officer brought the gun in," said Felton, "I would say giving an inmate a gun could be worth anywhere $500 or up."
He called the problems within the jail systemic. Sources told Fleischer that Jackson called in the FBI to investigate. Felton applauded that decision. Whoever is found to have supplied the gun to the inmate could also face criminal charges. "It's a very dangerous situation, not only for inmates being shot, but staff and for the community," said Felton. For safety reasons, even the officers in the jail don't carry guns. In recent years, officers have been arrested for bringing drugs into the jail. Routine cell searches have also discovered cell phones, knives, a lighter and matches. "Is every jail always going to have officers who are on the take?" Fleischer asked Felton. "You have a few. But for the most part no, not the way you have it at the Fulton County jail," Felton answered. Inmates in Fulton County are not strip searched, but they are searched twice when they first come into the jail. "My suggestion was they need to randomly search officers as they come into the jail and to enforce that," said Felton. He said the policy change wouldn't even cost any money. A sign outside warns that anyone entering the jail is subject to search. He said the sheriff could also have undercover officers pose as inmates to occasionally test jail officers' integrity by offering cash for guns, drugs or cell phones. "That's something that probably needs to be looked at that would help to identify officers who are on the take, definitely," said Felton. He said the sheriff should develop a master plan to address some of the jail's more serious issues and offer more training for officers, which would include spotting contraband.
A Sheriff's Office representative would not release the name of the inmate who was shot but said he is recovering. Records show Hurt has been booked into the jail 14 times since 2000. He's awaiting trial for a 2009 case, including charges of murder, aggravated assault, and drug possession. He'll face additional charges in the shooting. http://www.wsbtv.com/news/28326889/detail.html Comment here
Federal and state investigators arrested four law enforcement officials for drug trafficking June 22, 2011 TALBOTTON, Ga. -- Federal and state investigators today arrested four law enforcement officials in Talbot County, including three employees of the Talbot County Sheriffâ€˜s Office, amid a federal corruption probe involving a drug trafficking organization. The only full-time deputy arrested was Maj. Jeff Sivell, an investigator, said interim Sheriff Tom S. Wimberly. But the arrests shook a tiny department still recovering from the unexpected death this spring of Sheriff Herman Howard. Also jailed Wednesday were Charlie Stephens, a 76-year-old part-time deputy, and Alvin Malone, a former Talbotton police officer. A federal indictment states Malone worked for the Talbot County Sheriffâ€˜s Office, but Wimberly said Malone was a police officer recently fired by the city. All three were indicted last week by a federal grand jury on charges of extortion by a public official. They were taken into custody Wednesday along with Mike Gamble, a county jailer who was arrested on a state bribery charge. Gamble has not yet been indicted, prosecutors said.
Authorities divulged few details about the charges. Clyde Shelley Jr. of the Drug Enforcement Administration said at an afternoon news conference that the probe stemmed from a drug investigation into a trafficking organization. ―This organization would yield a large amount of narcotics, which in turn would lead to a large amount of money,‖ Shelley said. ―It would breed public corruption.‖ The indictments unsealed Wednesday allege that the officers extorted money from undercover federal agents and other persons cooperating with the FBI. Stephens, Malone and Sivell face up to 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted, prosecutors said. The arrests caught the community by surprise as teams of federal and state authorities raided the Talbot County Sheriff‘s Office and City Hall in downtown Talbotton, shutting the building down in the middle of the day. Wimberly said he had no inkling of the investigation until Wednesday morning when he was greeted by a team of armed agents who questioned him for more than an hour. ―They were telling me what they were doing and asking me if I knew anything about anybody being corrupt — I didn‘t,‖ Wimberly said. ―I‘m glad they come in and cleaned it up where I won‘t have to deal with it in the future. I appreciate them coming.‖ Wimberly said the arrested deputies have been suspended, but he said it remained to be determined whether that suspension would include pay. He said he likely will have to shuffle an employee from the second shift to the first shift to account for a vacancy that left him with only four full-time deputies. While Wimberly insisted he has the situation under control, Vernon M. Keenan, the director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, said state authorities also will ensure Talbot County the necessary law enforcement resources.
The agency already provides many investigative services to the county, particularly drug investigations, Wimberly said in an interview last month. The arrests came less than a day after Wimberly and retired deputy sheriff Bobby R. Gates Sr. qualified for a runoff election next month. The special election was called after Howard‘s death, and the winner will serve the remaining year and a half of his unexpired term. U.S. Attorney Michael J. Moore said none of the officers arrested Wednesday had any role in conducting the election. Calvin J. Willis, a longtime lawman and former Woodland police chief who finished fourth in Tuesday‘s sheriff‘s election, said he was not surprised by the arrests. ―It was just a matter of time,‖ said Willis, who campaigned on a platform of change. ―Talbot County is known for its corruption. It‘s no secret that it was going on.‖ John S. Comer of the DEA‘s Atlanta office said in a statement: ―The vast majority of law enforcement officers serve the public with honor and distinction. This type of activity tarnishes the badge of the committed men and women of law enforcement.‖ Gates declined to comment on the arrests because he had not heard about them Wednesday afternoon. Retired sheriff Bill Johnson also would not comment. On Wednesday, federal and state investigators executed a search warrant at the Talbot County Sheriff‘s Office, spending almost two hours at the office, according to an employee who would not give her name. ―I still don‘t know what they looked for,‖ said the employee, who was alone at the office and still visibly shaken by the visit moments after the agents left.
She said the agents told her not to get up when they walked in, and later questioned her about why her desk was locked. According to a warrant they left, the agents were looking for department policy and procedure manuals; all reports filed by Malone and Sivell since Jan. 10, 2010, regarding the seizure of any money; evidence logs and entry forms regarding currency seized by Malone and Sivell; currency entered into evidence ―to be reviewed and compared to known serial numbers of currency" paid to or taken by Malone and Sivell; and any currency located within the Sheriff‘s Office that has not been secured into evidence. All four men charged were being held at the Muscogee County Jail. The three men facing federal charges are scheduled for a preliminary hearing at 2 p.m. Thursday in U.S. District Court. Gamble, who was arrested on a state charge because he had no arrest powers, has no scheduled hearing. BY: JIM MUSTIAN and ALAN RIQUELMY Comment here
Raleigh officer M.C. Rominski fired after sexual contact with prostitute June 22, 2011 Raleigh, N.C. — A probe into sexual misconduct has cost another Raleigh police officer his job. Sources told WRAL News that M.C. Rominski was one of several officers accused of having sexual contact with a prostitute in the southeast district. Police confirm that Rominski has been fired, but would not elaborate on the reason. Sources said Officer Stephen Hinnant resigned in February because of the investigation.
For the last four months, at least two officers have been on paid administrative leave. A spokesman for the Teamsters, who are representing the officers, said the investigators have been unable to find evidence to support the prostitution accusations. The Teamsters said Rominski was told he was fired for poor performance. He is appealing the decision. WRAL tried but was unable to reach Rominski and his attorney for comment. Sources told WRAL News in February that the police department‘s Internal Affairs Unit used GPS devices and hidden cameras to uncover the activity with Bobbie Lynn Wright, a 35-year-old prostitute who goes by the street name ―5-G‖ and is known to frequent Bragg Street in southeast Raleigh. According to court records, Raleigh police have arrested Wright 22 times in Wake County – six times for prostitution – since 2005. Her most recent prostitution arrest occurred in July. Prior to that, the last time she was arrested on that charge was in June 2009. http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/9767102/ Comment here
Former officer Joe Salvaggio files defamation suit against WOAI June 22, 2011 Former San Antonio police Lt. Joe Salvaggio has filed a defamation suit against local NBC affiliate WOAI-TV, its parent company and several reporters claiming the station was malicious when it aired and posted online stories that said he was caught cheating on a promotional exam. The suit, filed Monday, claims the reporters were told the information was false but ran the stories anyway. It did not specify damages being sought by Salvaggio but claims he ―endured and continues to endure shame, embarrassment, humiliation, mental pain and mental anguish‖ because of the stories. Two short stories about Salvaggio were still posted on WOAI's website as of Wednesday night. The stories resulted from an investigation into Salvaggio's actions during a January 2010 promotion exam for officers seeking the rank of captain. Before Salvaggio was even disciplined, the station ran a June story that named the 23-year-veteran and said in part, ―The police lieutenant caught cheating on his captain's exam is scheduled to go before a special review board.‖ The lawsuit names as defendants WOAI News Director Tom Bell; anchor Randy Beamer, whose name appears on a bylined story; and several other members of the staff. ―We haven't had a chance to review it yet,‖ Bell said about the lawsuit. It wasn't long into the investigation that cheating rumors swirled around case, and SAPD's public information office received inquiries from reporters before Salvaggio's firing, according to previous Express-News reports and the lawsuit.
Sgt. Chris Benavides, a spokesman for the department, told a WOAI reporter Salvaggio wasn't being investigated for cheating, adding he would sit down with the reporter to explain the charge, according to the suit. The reporter didn't meet with Benavides or include his denial of the cheating allegation, the suit said. The suit listed the reporter as ―John Doe‖ because his identity was not confirmed at the time of filing. SAPD referred questions to the city, but attempts to reach City Attorney Michael Bernard were not successful. Salvaggio referred all questions to his attorney Ben Sifuentes Jr. who said, ―The pleadings speak for themselves.‖ The suit is the latest maneuver in a legal saga arising from Salvaggio's termination in July 2010 after Police Chief William McManus determined he violated the rules governing code and conduct. Salvaggio was accused of attempting to take a sticky-note out of the testing room during the exam. But last fall an arbitrator ruled Salvaggio should not have been terminated, concluded an Internal Affairs investigation didn't prove he did anything wrong, and that he should be reinstated with full back pay. The city disagreed and has appealed the arbitrator's decision in District Court. BY: Michelle Mondo Comment here
Lancaster officer Jonathan Reppert hit by taser from another officer June 22, 2011 A suspect wanted on an outstanding warrant â€” and an officer in pursuit of him â€” were hit by a stun gun Wednesday morning in Lancaster city, police said. Police said they got an anonymous tip that Jesus Gomez, 22, of Lancaster, was at the Fulton Bar, 637 N. Plum St. Gomez was wanted on an outstanding felony warrant for illegally possessing a firearm, police said. Police said they set up a perimeter and, at 12:45 a.m., Gomez walked out of the bar. Sgt. Bill Hickey tried to stop him, but Gomez fled, police said. Police said they fired Tasers at Gomez and, during the melee, one Taser probe hit him and another accidentally hit Officer Jonathan Reppert. Gomez and Reppert then came into contact, completing the circuit and causing each to be jolted, police said. Police struck Gomez with a Taser twice more before taking him into custody on the warrant, they said. He had 13 grams of marijuana in a clear plastic bag and a portable digital scale with marijuana residue on it, they said. Gomez was charged with flight to avoid apprehension, trial or punishment. He also was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and a small amount of marijuana.
According to police, Gomez was arraigned Wednesday afternoon and committed to Lancaster County Prison on $100,000 bail. Police said no one was seriously injured in the incident. BY: RYAN ROBINSON Comment here
Former Bartlesville officer Cody I. Thomas sued city for discrimination June 22, 2011 Another $6 million dollar lawsuit alleging harassment and discrimination has been filed against the City of Bartlesville and Bartlesville Fraternal Order of Police. Former Bartlesville Police Department officer Cody I. Thomas, who is of Hispanic heritage and was hired in 2009, alleges in the lawsuit filed Tuesday in United States District Court that between Sept. 7, 2009 and the present, he has been repeatedly harassed with a ―barrage of racially charged comments, embarrassing statements to fellow officers, humiliation and ridicule, directly related to (Thomas‘) Hispanic heritage.‖ A work environment was created that was so hostile it affected Thomas‘ ability to perform his police duties, the lawsuit states. According to the lawsuit, the harassment began with the roll call when a supervising officer would call out Thomas‘ name using ―an obscene term for female genitalia‖ as Thomas‘ first name. Thomas‘ lawsuit claims that superior officers — some of whom were also officers in the FOP — made a statement that it was ―kinda funny the only ones we have problems with are the two Hispanics.‖
The lawsuit states that Thomas repeatedly brought the conditions to the attention of his immediate supervisors and the chief of police and as a result became the victim of retaliation, was denied promotions or received salary reductions. Thomas‘ lawsuit further alleges the ―chief of police made the comment to another officer, in regard to (Thomas) ―he is a lot darker than I remember him being when we hired him.‖ Some retaliation for his complaints consisted of criticism, harassment from co-workers and the creation of ―secret‖ personnel files from which information ―was used to his detriment,‖ the lawsuit states. Thomas alleges in the lawsuit that some superiors and officers used their positions in both the department and the FOP to humiliate him because of his Hispanic heritage. On the rare occasions when Thomas alleges his concerns were acknowledged, the lawsuit states he was assured disciplinary action would be taken but superiors instead extended Thomas‘ probationary period ―contrary to the General Orders of the police department and without any Memorandum of Understanding as is required by the agreement between the defendants.‖ Additional retaliation consisted of Thomas being required to go through ―remedial training‖ and having his reports criticized by superiors for his use of ―big words‖ which eventually resulted in Thomas‘ termination of employment, the lawsuit alleges. ―Fellow officers who were friendly with (Thomas) or who spoke to him regularly, were singled out for harassment, made to perform ‗remedial training,‘ cursed at and told they were disloyal, all in an attempt to isolate (Thomas),‖ the lawsuit states. ―On at least one occasion superiors advised a fellow officer to ride with (Thomas) and to record their conversations.‖
Thomas alleges in the lawsuit that he was advised by some superiors that the BPD was a ―paramilitary organization‖ and that because of that he would be subjected to harassment to ―break him down.‖ ―The defendants, through a concerted effort, utilized the excuse of ‗paramilitary organization‘ to subject (Thomas) to additional humiliation and racially based insults,‖ the lawsuit states. According to the lawsuit, Thomas had attempted to continue as a reserve in the United States Coast Guard, with which he had been on active duty prior to being hired by the City of Bartlesville. ―(Thomas) was advised by his supervisors that he may have been ‗one of the fastest officers ever to get a commendation‘ and ‗smart enough to do the job because I have seen what you did at the academy‘ but that he should do the same thing as the female who was having these same type of problems and that was go ask my supervisor what needed to be done ‗to get through it,‘‖ Thomas‘ lawsuit states. According to the lawsuit, Thomas was the only Hispanic officer at the time of many of these events with ―the only other officer of Hispanic origin having been fired by the defendant.‖ The lawsuit also alleges seminars were conducted in which police officers were held up to ―ridicule, their personal information was disclosed by agency heads and other employees were deterred from reporting discrimination or other problems by actions of the defendants which would dissuade a reasonable employee from making or supporting a complaint of discrimination.‖ Thomas claims in the lawsuit that he requested information from his personnel records but has been provided an incomplete file.
He also alleges the BPD allowed personal information obtained from Thomas to be publicly disclosed and the FOP released information found in personnel files involving Thomas to third parties without Thomas‘ prior knowledge or consent. Other allegations in the lawsuit include Thomas‘ request for permission to continue in the reserves with the United States Coast Guard. ―(Thomas) was told by his superiors, both as representatives of the City of Bartlesville and as officers of the defendant, Bartlesville FOP Lodge No. 117, that he would not be given permission to take the full time to travel to his duty station nor would he be allowed his full time for military leave unless it counted as holiday or vacation time,‖ the lawsuit states. As a result, Thomas alleges in the lawsuit that he was denied his full benefits to vacation or holiday time and supervisors refused to consider grievances from Thomas regarding the manner in which his military leave was being treated. ―The implementation of city policy by FOP officers is with the knowledge and consent of the Bartlesville Police Department even though it contradicts established city policy,‖ the lawsuit states. According to the lawsuit, actions were ―so extreme and outrageous as to go beyond all bounds of decency and are considered atrocious and utterly intolerable in a civilized society.‖ Thomas‘ lawsuit alleges the city and FOP failed to follow their own policies and ―the failure to follow their established rules and procedures, intentionally or recklessly caused (Thomas) severe emotional distress beyond which a reasonable person should be expected to endure.‖ ―The defendants have joined in their intentional infliction of emotion(al) distress as a result of their race-based policies under the guises of ‗progressive discipline‘ and ‗paramilitary organization,‘‖ the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit also alleges that when Thomas was fired he was â€•first paraded from the squad room to the parking lot by a supervisor on directions from the police chief and then when he went to City Hall to sign his termination papers the city manager and human resources director jubilantly celebrated the event in front of (Thomas.)â€– According to the lawsuit, Thomas is entitled to $3 million dollars in actual damages and $3 million dollars in punitive damages. City Manager Ed Gordon told the Examiner-Enterprise today that he could not comment on the lawsuit. The filing of Thomasâ€˜ lawsuit against the city and the FOP follows the filing of a lawsuit last week against the same defendants by Elizabeth J. Mitchell, also a police officer, who is alleging sexual harassment and discrimination based on her gender. BY: Jessica Miller Comment here
Fired Louisville Metro Police officer Jackie Hollingsworth wants job back June 22, 2011 LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Louisville's police chief testified Wednesday in a contentious battle in the Louisville Police Department that has lasted for more than six years. Louisville Metro Police Chief Robert White fired Officer Jackie Hollingsworth after she was charged with violating several department policies from 2006 to 2008. But her attorney says the firing was not warranted.
"My actions on Officer Hollingsworth were based on the information that was in front of me and based on what was the right thing to do," White said in court Wednesday. The case against Hollingsworth began six years ago when the FBI and the LMPD Integrity Unit began investigating allegations Hollingsworth had stolen nearly $15,000 from the Louisville Black Officers Organization. At the time, she was the group's treasurer. After years of investigation of bank records and interviews with Hollingsworth, the department suspended her for 20 days in May, saying she violated policies on truthfulness and forged a receipt. "She lied about how she produced it and how she paid for it in an official capacity," White said in court. But then, months later, the suspension was withdrawn. Investigators claimed that in a separate incident, Hollingsworth interfered with officers trying to calm a crowd at an event she was attending off-duty. "Officer Hollingsworth interfered with them doing their duty," White said. "That is why I terminated Officer Hollingsworth." That firing happened in December 2010. No official charges have been brought against Hollingsworth. Wednesday's hearing will determine if she deserves to get her job back, and Thomas Clay, her attorney, said all of her good accomplishments are being overlooked. "From my perspective, the chief picked and chose the things he wanted to consider that were incriminating against Officer Hollingsworth, and he didn't consider those things that were in favor of her," Clay said. http://www.wlky.com/r/28320212/detail.html Comment here
Hanford Corrections officer Ryan Bolen arrested for killing brotherâ€™s snake June 23, 2011 A correctional officer was arrested after he forced his way into his brother's home, grabbed a roommate's pet snake and allegedly tore it in half, police said Wednesday. Officers were called out to a report of an assault with a deadly weapon at 7:07 p.m. Monday in the 2100 block of Kensington Way. But they arrived to find that the victim of the crime was not human, but actually a 3-footlong boa constrictor, said Hanford Police Lt. George Hernandez. The attack may have stemmed from an ongoing feud between suspect Ryan Bolen; his brother, Richard Bolen; and Richard's roommate, Zachary Bates, investigators said. Just before 7 p.m., Ryan Bolen arrived at the home and pushed his way inside, assaulting his sister-in-law, Shirlene Bolen, in the process, witnesses said. He claimed to be there to pick up some items that "belonged to his children," according to a police report. But rather than enter the back yard to get the property, 29-year-old Bolen detoured into Bates' room, grabbed the pet snake from its aquarium and ripped it in half, killing it, police said.
Bolen then left the house without any of the items he said he'd come for. He was arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty and battery and booked into the Kings County Jail on $30,000 bail. He was released the following morning, jail records show. This incident marks the second time this week a correctional officer has been arrested in Hanford. Also on Monday, 42-year-old correctional officer Peter Esparza was arrested and charged with trying to shoot his significant other. He remains in custody on $575,000 bail. BY: Joe Johnson Comment here
Wicomoco County correctional officer Terrance L. Schoolfield jailed for allegations he sexually assaulted inmates June 23, 2011 SALISBURY, Md.- A Wicomico County Detention Center correctional officer is behind bars following his arrest on accusations that he sexually assaulted female inmates. Terrance L. Schoolfield, 31, of Salisbury, is charged with second-degree assault, fourth-degree sex offense, general prostitution, perverted practice and sex offense with a correction inmate.
Detectives with the Wicomico Bureau of Investigation said Wednesday that for the last few weeks they had been investigating allegations of sexual assaults on female inmates locked up in the detention center. Detectives said their investigation led to the arrest of Schoolfield, a correctional officer at the detention center. He is being held without bond on the aforementioned charges. BY: Kye Parsons Comment here
Update: Officey Sydney Huffman charged with multiple felonies is sitll on getting paid June 23, 2011 A Colorado Springs police officer accused of lying to her colleagues will continue to be paid despite the filing of felony charges against her this week. Officials with the Colorado Springs Police Department have decided to keep Sydney Huffman on paid administrative leave rather than suspend her without pay after she was charged Wednesday with six counts of trying to influence a public servant, a class 4 felony, according to Sgt. Darrin Abbink, police spokesman.
The decision comes roughly a month after the paycheck of another recently-jailed officer, Joshua Carrier, was pulled the day prosecutors charged him with numerous charges of sexually assaulting children. Abbink said the difference lies in the agencies responsible for each investigation. ―The types of allegations and the type of proof that exists in each of these cases are… different,‖ Abbink said. Felony charges must be filed against an officer before any paychecks can be withheld, according to the city‘s Civil Service Commission code. Carrier‘s case, which arose after police said they found child pornography in his bedroom, was investigated by the Police Department. That allowed investigators to complete the internal affairs investigation — which determines pay status — as well as his criminal investigation, Abbink said. When prosecutors charged him criminally, Abbink said the internal affairs investigation had enough evidence to take away his paycheck. But that isn‘t the case with Huffman, Abbink said. Huffman faces investigations by two agencies — an internal inquiry by the Police Department and a criminal one by the 4th Judicial District Attorney‘s Office. Huffman is suspected of lying to fellow Colorado Springs police officers by telling them she was abused by Jarrott Martinez, her then-boyfriend. Martinez was fired by the Manitou Springs Police Department when the second of several allegations surfaced. He has since been cleared of all charges. Abbink said that not all evidence has been shared between the two agencies, and investigators are completing Huffman‘s internal inquiry. ―If we put her on suspension without pay right now, we basically put ourselves on the clock,‖ said Abbink, referring to a policy that states
officers are allowed a termination hearing within ―a reasonable time‖ of paychecks being suspended. The department tries to handle such matters in about 10 days, Abbink said. ―It‘s something where we‘ve got to have all of our ducks in a row,‖ Abbink said. BY: Jakob Rodgers Comment here
Austin Chronicle: When you were busted for public intoxication, were you drunk? Or did you just piss off a cop? June 23, 2011 To hear Milan Luna tell the story, the night that she was arrested for public intoxication, Jan. 18, she was not drunk. The 42-year-old musician had one drink at a club on West Sixth Street not long before she was handcuffed and taken to the Travis County Jail for an
overnight stay. She insists she was not impaired – certainly not enough to meet the standard for a public intoxication arrest. According to the Texas Penal Code, a person commits PI "if the person appears in a public place while intoxicated to the degree that the person may endanger the person or another." A cop must have reason to believe that you might harm yourself or someone else before making an arrest. In Luna's case, she believes such evidence simply didn't exist. Instead, she says, her arrest would be better categorized by a title not in the Penal Code: Contempt of Cop. Indeed, Luna – a bassist who has played with Austin's rocker-girl group the Platforms and with her own group, Moonticca & the Texas Clock – says she was arrested near the corner of Fourth and Red River precisely because she mouthed off to Austin Police Department officers when she didn't immediately comply with a request to exit a vehicle in which she was a passenger after it was pulled over for a traffic infraction. She says the officers making the stop overreacted to her reluctance to exit the vehicle, and when she did get out of the car, she was slammed into a parked semi and cuffed. When she complained about the treatment and asked why she was being restrained, she says, one of the officers broke her wrist by lifting her off the ground by the two middle fingers of her cuffed left hand. "I'm screaming: 'Please let go of my fingers, you're hurting me, and I play bass! I play bass! Please let go,'" she recalled. Luna spent a night in jail for the alleged PI, a charge that two months later was dropped because of "insufficient evidence." She's still trying to recover from the injury she suffered, a broken scaphoid bone inside her wrist that still has not healed and has led to the (she hopes temporary) dissolution of her band; nerve damage from the break has made it difficult, at best, for her to play her bass. The officers have a different version of events that night, as described in a police report, but their version nonetheless fails to confirm that there was ever enough evidence that Luna was intoxicated, let alone dangerous.
A PI charge – a class C misdemeanor, punishable only by a fine of up to $500, though most often including at least several hours in the Downtown lockup – is one of the state's most subjective criminal offenses. Unlike a drunken driving charge, for example, which requires proof that a driver has lost control of normal faculties or has a blood-alcohol content higher than the legal standard of 0.08, there is no objective standard for proving PI. As a consequence, many lawyers say, it is a discretionary charge ripe for abuse. Not surprisingly, according to APD and Downtown Austin Community Court statistics, there are thousands of PI arrests in Austin every year, with the largest percentage in the Downtown Entertainment District. Police say that enforcing the PI statute is important to help keep Downtown revelers safe– from themselves and from others – and that officers on the beat take seriously their commitment to enforce the statute without prejudice. Still, in Austin as in jurisdictions across the country, PI arrests are often implicated in complaints about officer conduct. "We get a fair number of complaints where a person was saying, 'I wasn't really publicly intoxicated but did something to tick off the cop,'" says Margo Frasier, the former Travis County sheriff who now serves as Austin's police monitor. Nonetheless, there is no APD policy that standardizes protocol for PI arrests. That calls into question whether PI arrests are made for only the right reasons. 'Stop Resisting' The night Luna was arrested, she and a friend had gone to see a show at the Belmont. They arrived, had a drink, and when they learned the show wouldn't begin until later, the pair decided to kill some time at Flamingo Cantina on East Sixth Street. It was a cold night, nearly freezing, but their pickup was parked in a safe location, and Luna didn't think it was worth it to move it for just a several-block walk. "I wanted to walk," she said, "and I didn't want to deal with parking; I hate parking down there." But because
of the cold weather, her friend insisted that they drive, Luna said. The pair climbed into her friend's white GMC Sierra pickup and drove east. They were circling the block in search of a parking spot when, at Fourth and Red River, a police car approached and stopped them; Luna's friend had forgotten to turn on the headlights. According to Luna, after her friend couldn't immediately find her license in her purse, Officer Richard Mitchell asked the friend to get out of the truck. He said nothing to Luna, she says, and left her sitting alone in the car. It wasn't until more than 30 minutes later that a second cop approached to ask her, through the passenger window, how much she'd had to drink. One beer, she told him. She said she told him it appeared clear that the police would arrest her friend and she asked if they might let her drive the car home. "We'll see," she recalls him saying. Officer Tracy Zimmerman then walked away to talk with another officer. Thinking he was done talking with her, Luna says, she rolled up the window because it was so cold outside; that apparently ticked off the cops, she says, because as she rolled it up, she heard a third officer say, "She's trying to ignore you!" Luna says one of the officers, Officer Justin Berry, hurried over to the pickup, forcibly opened the passenger-side door, and ordered her out of the truck; Luna says she told them that they were scaring her and asked that they "back up and give me some personal space." They backed off perhaps a half-step, she recalls, before yelling at her to exit the truck; the moment her feet were on the ground, she says, she was slammed into the side of a truck parked at the curb line. Startled, Luna says she tried to pull away, prompting two officers to pull her hands behind her, push her forward farther, and cuff her. When she complained about the treatment, she says, Berry lifted her up by her two fingers, a move that she would learn the next day had broken her wrist. (According to the police report, Luna stands 5 feet 3 inches tall and weighs 110 pounds.) Berry repeatedly told her she was intoxicated, which she denied, and she says none of the officers would explain to her why she was being arrested
– she didn't learn that until she was already at the jail. (Luna was also initially told she was being charged with possession of drug paraphernalia because a search of the car turned up a pipe and a small amount of marijuana. She was initially charged with marijuana possession as well – according to the police report, the officers collected roughly 0.1 ounces of pot, with an estimated value of $3. The charge was dismissed by a judge the next morning because of a lack of probable cause; narcotics officers reviewed the case and declined to refile. The paraphernalia charge was dismissed for lack of evidence.) Luna says that aside from asking her if she'd had anything at all to drink that night, the officers did nothing to determine if she was actually drunk. It was her attitude, Luna believes, that actually led to her arrest. Berry was "telling me I'm intoxicated. I said, 'I'm not intoxicated,'" she recently recalled. "I shouldn't be here; I shouldn't be arrested." In the official police report, the story unfolds quite differently. The reason for the stop – failure to activate the truck's lights – is the same, as is the account of Luna's friend fumbling for her license. That, according to the report, in combination with a strong smell of "burnt marijuana" coming from the car, is what prompted the officers to ask the friend to exit the vehicle; ultimately, she was booked and charged with driving while intoxicated. Also in keeping with Luna's recollection, the police report relates that officers asked Luna to exit the vehicle but that she refused. Strikingly different, however, is the account of what happened once Luna exited the vehicle. According to police, Luna was combative and threatening to the officers – one wrote that he thought she was trying to kick him in the shin; another said she made motions that led him to believe she was trying to punch one of them. According to Berry's version, Luna's menacing motions with her fist prompted him to twist her "right wrist at an angle" into a "wrist lock ... which prevented Milan from breaking my grasp and assaulting any of us." Luna denies the allegations. In fact, she says, she was confused by their abrupt use of force without giving any indication
why they were arresting her. Indeed, according to Berry's report, all he told her when she got out of the car was "that she was under arrest and to stop resisting." It wasn't until after she was told she was being arrested that another officer found evidence of marijuana in the car. That means that according to the officers' own accounts, the arrest happened prior to there being any indication that Luna, as a passenger, had committed any offense â€“ and those charges were ultimately dismissed. Officers' Discretion The scenario in Luna's case is not unique. Back in June 2009, another PI arrest made headlines when former Assistant District Attorney Mindy Montford (who ran for D.A. in 2008 and for district judge last year) was arrested for PI after a car she was riding in was pulled over near Sixth Street. Montford was arrested when she tried to offer legal advice to her friend, the driver: specifically, that he didn't have to complete any field sobriety tests. With-out even asking Montford if she had been drinking that night, Cpl. Darryl Fulbright decided Montford was drunk and needed to be arrested. What had she done to prove to the officer that she was a danger to herself? She'd decided to get into a car with a drunk driver, he opined. To Montford, that was and remains a troubling logical leap. The driver had not yet been assessed for drunkenness, and moreover, even if he had, that was just a charge, not yet something that had been proven. In short, Montford told the Citizen Review Panel in November 2009, "When you ask a passenger to make a legal determination about whether a driver is legally intoxicated, you are asking a citizen â€“ a layperson â€“ to make a legal determination before a judge or jury has ever determined whether or not the driver is intoxicated. ... And that can affect anyone in this community, and we should all be scared that this same thing can happen to us, if that is the standard." Moreover, Montford told the panel, the DWI charge leveled against the driver of the car she was in was dismissed just hours later by a judge.
Fulbright did no investigation to determine whether Montford had even been drinking before he arrested her, she says, placing a premium on arrest instead of whether or not the occupants of the car could get home safely on their own. An "arrest should not be a knee-jerk reaction," she said. "Take action," she told the CRP, "and make recommendations [to APD] that officers are going to need more than just, 'You've questioned my authority, and I'm upset,'" before making an arrest.
Luna's arrest was, it seems, made in a similar fashion â€“ only one of the officers even reported a reason for her PI arrest. Zimmerman wrote that he smelled alcohol on Luna and that she had bloodshot eyes. "At this time, Luna was under arrest for public intoxication and for being intoxicated in a public place and the danger that she presented to herself by choosing to ride with an intoxicated driver and attempting to cause a disturbance with uniformed police officers," he wrote. "I believe that if Luna was not taken into custody, she would [continue] to attempt [to] instigate an altercation with another citizen and walked the streets creating the potential to be struck by a passing vehicle in her impaired state." (Luna charges that the cops instigated a confrontation and then used it to justify her arrest.) Yet merely being intoxicated in public is not enough to justify an arrest, something that Montford noted when addressing the CRP in 2009. "When you hear it in the media, you would think that if you're in public and had anything to drink, that's against the law," she said. The standard is actually higher. Still, in a PI arrest situation, a person is not entitled to a Breathalyzer, for example, or a so-called "standard field sobriety test" that might help suggest a true level of intoxication; determining PI is solely at the officers' discretion. "Every other [offense] in the Penal Code requires proof of something," says Jeff Black-burn, an Amarillo attorney who heads the state bar's committee on indigent defense and is founder and chief counsel of the Innocence Project of Texas in Lubbock, where, as in Austin, he says the college scene
helps to fuel the PI arrest business. "This offense requires proof of nothing," he says. No Standards, No Policy That's one of the issues that impressed the Citizen Review Panel in the wake of the Montford case. In a memo to APD Chief Art Acevedo on Dec. 1, 2009, the panel wrote that it was "distressed ... because we have seen numerous ... situations where PI appears to be used indiscriminately and inappropriately by APD officers" (according to a copy of the memo edacted by the city to comply with civil service laws). "We believe that there must be standards for arresting someone for an offense that has minimal or no standards of criminality," the panel continued. "We recommend that in light of state law that is currently in place, APD adopt a standard ([standard operating procedure] or policy) to be employed when arresting an individual for [PI]. We suggest the commonly employed field tests for intoxication and a requirement that the arresting officer document specific facts to support the conclusion that the person is a danger to himself or others." The panel also recommended that the department research the standards that departments in other cities use for determining PI, "especially those with entertainment districts." (Luna says she asked for a sobriety test but was ignored.) In his Dec. 29, 2009, response to the CRP, Acevedo wrote not much about their policy concerns (at least not according to a heavily redacted copy provided to the Chronicle). He wrote that in a civil law context, passengers have a duty to "exercise reasonable care" about whom they choose to ride with, and that there was "no current policy or standard procedure in place for arresting persons or passengers in vehicles for [PI]," but that he would have staff research how arrests are handled in other cities. The CRP was not impressed. "The panel unanimously agreed that your response to these concerns left us less than satisfied," they responded on Jan. 22, 2010. "In cases that have come before us, arrests for PI is a
recurrent theme leading to citizen complaints. APD should develop objective guidelines for PI that would prevent police actions that needlessly cost money and time to citizens. The smell of alcohol on a person's breath, as was used in the Montford incident, is inadequate as a criterion for arrest." To date, the APD has not adopted specific policies or procedures to standardize PI arrests.
Show Us the Money Police Monitor Frasier, who was hired on well after the CRP recommendations in the Montford case, says that PI arrests are tricky. On the one hand, individuals complain that they're not drunk and that the police are merely getting them out of the way â€“ a "cuff 'em and stuff 'em" approach to dealing with Downtown revelers. The flip side, of course, is what happens if police do turn a blind eye to a passing drunk and that person ends up starting a major fight or wanders into a road and gets hit by a car? Would someone complain that the cop failed in his duty to protect a person who was a drunken danger? That said, Frasier notes that in the data she's reviewed since taking office late last year, PI arrests (as the CRP attested in the Montford case) do form the basis for a good number of complaints to her office. She said she can't yet quantify that number precisely â€“ the office is behind in its data crunching (in the month before she took over, she said, the office had just posted data for 2007 and 2008) â€“ but believes they are indeed an issue. "One of my real goals is to look at things like that," she said. It may be that the folks complaining are "all wrong" and that they were, indeed, drunken and dangerous, "or maybe we need to realize that giving officers a tool to lock someone up for [angering a cop] is not a good idea." Complaints about arrests for PI and other discretionary crimes aren't confined to Austin. In a 2010 issue paper for the American Con-sti-tution
Society, Christy Lopez, a civil rights attorney and former court-appointed monitor of California's Oakland Police Department, writes that an investigation in San Jose, Calif., revealed that in half of all PI arrests, police reports did not contain sufficient probable cause for an arrest. Similar issues have been raised with PI and other subjective-standard crimes such as loitering, obstructing a police officer, or resisting arrest in Washington, D.C.; Baltimore; and Seattle. "Inappropriate contempt of cop and cover arrests, and the too-often unnecessary uses of force that accompany these arrests, are a widespread problem," Lopez writes in conclusion. " These abusive arrests cause direct harm to those arrested, violate the constitutional rights at the core of our democracy, alienate large segments of our people, and make policing less effective." Indeed, some former and current APD officers say that they too believe that a number of PI arrests, particularly those made Downtown, are questionable. "A lot of times it is done as a preemptive measure," says one, who notes that cops sometimes see these arrests as a way to avoid future troubles, as with Sixth Street brawls. "About 25 percent are probably attitude arrests." If that estimate is accurate, then more than 600 of the 2,639 PI arrests made Downtown since Jan. 1, 2010, would be questionable. The statistics on the disposition of PI cases provided by the Downtown Austin Community Court (which handles all so-called "quality of life" crimes, including PI, that happen in the Downtown area) do not readily reflect that percentage. For the same time period, only 25 of the 3,394 cases filed were dismissed for insufficient evidence, eight were dismissed because a police officer failed to appear in court, and six were dismissed because of mental health issues. (The number of cases handled by police and the number handled by the court aren't equal because of the time lag in processing.) A large number of cases, 839, were dismissed after successful completion of a deferred prosecution â€“ which generally involves a set amount of community service â€“ and just two were found "not guilty."
Those numbers don't necessarily provide the full picture, argues attorney Blackburn. Even though PI is not a per se jailable offense, to fight the charge a defendant typically needs to hire a lawyer and spend the time and money required to have a court fully review the charge. And most people, he says, simply can't afford to do that and will pay a fine to conclude the matter. As a result, he says, PI and similar crimes can be a serious cash cow for municipalities. PI arrests "please the cops on the street, because they get rid of a problem," he says, "and it pleases the city because of the revenue." Since January 2010, the city has received roughly $140,000 from fines paid by defendants arrested for PI Downtown and processed through community court, where the "guideline" fine set by the judge for every PI case is $375 (in certain cases a fine can be raised or lowered depending on unique factors, or in certain circumstances the fine may be worked off with community service at a rate of $12.50/hour). An additional 4,734 PI cases were handled by the municipal court (which handles cases from the rest of the city) during the same time period, for which the city took in somewhere around $1 million. (The city's standard "early" fine is $242, the "standard" fine is $329, and the law allows for a fine up to $500.) In sum, says Blackburn, PIs are "revenue generators." Eye of the Beholder APD Cmdr. Chris McIlvain, one of two commanders in charge of the Entertain-ment District, says he wouldn't consider public intoxication "a problem" Downtown. "I'm not sure 'problem' is the right word," he says. He will say "in all honesty" that the two "primary instances of violation of the law" in the area are PI and disorderly conduct â€“ that is, fighting. "Introduce alcohol in large amounts with a large number of people, and those two generally go hand in hand. Those are always going to be top of the list; it goes with the territory." That said, he believes that the cops working Downtown use good judgment in deciding when to arrest someone for PI. "It really does fall to the officers," he says, and "we have to trust officer judgment." He says the law doesn't provide for any "stipulation" as with DWI, because different people may handle their booze
differently – one may have a single drink and be falling down, and another may be sauced and handling himself just fine. That's why leaving open the interpretation of when a person is a danger to himself or others is so important. And officers certainly don't overuse the statute, he insists – if a person can be entrusted to friends or can be put in a cab, officers will do that, he says, instead of making an arrest. "If officers arrested every individual they find for PI," there wouldn't be any cops left on the beat because they'd all be at Central Booking, he says. "I'm not being facetious; it's just the truth." And if officers used a PI arrest as an attitude-adjustment technique, he says, the result would be the same: "If we arrested everyone who talked to us [crossly], it would be a very busy night." And McIlvain, who used to work the Downtown beat back in the Nineties (when the territory seemed much smaller, he said – hell, the walking beat was confined to a literal walk up and down Sixth Street), says that since February 2011, when he was assigned to this post, he hasn't seen a complaint about a PI arrest. "I've never had a complaint like that," he says. "I can see where there is the potential" for abuse, and "I can't sit here and tell you it's never happened." Still, he suggests that perhaps the problem in some cases is alcohol-induced. You're "dealing with someone who may not have all their faculties and may subjectively rationalize their behavior because they're impaired," he suggests. "Subjectivity goes both ways." In the end, Milan Luna, who recently filed an official complaint regarding her arrest with the Police Monitor's Office, wants her wrist to heal; she wants to be able to play her bass again. Beyond that, she wants APD to create some objective standard by which PI cases will be assessed – before any arrest is made. "That's the thing, it's not just for me that I'm pursuing this," she says. "It's just straight wrong, and for people who say there's nothing you can do, so just stay low and don't say anything – that's why they keep doing it."
BY: Jordan Smith Comment here
Why Are DC Police Arresting Journalists at a Public Meeting? June 23, 2011 Reason‘s Jim Epstein was arrested after a meeting of the D.C. Taxi Commission yesterday, following his filming of the arrest of journalist, Pete Tucker, at the same meeting. Tucker‘s crime? Snapping a still photo of the proceedings on his camera phone. Here‘s Epstein‘s account of what happened next: A few minutes later, as I was attempting to leave the building, I overheard the female officer who had arrested Tucker promise a woman, who I presumed to be an employee of the Taxi Commission, that she would confiscate my phone. Reason intern Kyle Blaine, overheard her say, "Do you want his phone? I can get his phone." (The woman who was given assurances by the officer that she could have my phone can be seen at the end of the video telling me, "You do not have permission to record this!") As I tried to leave, I was told by the same officer to "stay put." I told her I was leaving and attempted to exit the building. I was then surrounded by officers, and told to remain still or I would be arrested.
I didn‘t move, but I tried to get the attention of a group of cab drivers who were standing nearby. At this point I was arrested. I spent the remainder of the day in a cell in the basement of the building. In the late afternoon, I was released. Are journalists no longer allowed to take pictures or videos at public meetings? What exactly is the D.C. Taxi Commission attempting to keep under wraps at this public meeting? For the life of me, I can‘t understand how this is either legal or – in any sense of the word – a smart thing to do. At least not in the age of camera phones that can upload videos to the internet. http://blogs.forbes.com/erikkain/2011/06/23/why-are-d-c-police-arrestingjournalists-at-a-public-meeting/ Comment here
Florida Department of Corrections officer Eric James charged with buying cocaine from undercover agents Jun 23, 2011 A state prison officer was charged with attempting to buy cocaine from undercover agents in a Tallahassee parking lot Thursday. The Department of Corrections said Eric James, 34, will be fired from his job at the Liberty Correctional Institution. He was held at the Leon County Jail pending first appearance set for Friday on charges of drug trafficking. The department said James, who has worked at the department since 2006, was arrested by sheriff‘s deputies when he offered to buy 56 grams of cocaine from undercover officers. He was charged with trafficking narcotics, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute or sell the drug and official misconduct.
The prison system said Julie Mader, an investigator in its inspector general‘s office, got an anonymous tip in the case and worked with Sheriff‘s Sgt. Brice Google. http://www.tallahassee.com/article/20110623/NEWS/110623008/Stateprison-officer-arrested-on-drug-charges Comment here
Michigan probation officer John Wolgamood arrested after damaging ex-girlfriend's car June 23, 2011 VAN BUREN COUNTY, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – A probation officer who works with juveniles in Van Buren County has been arrested and is now facing charges. Police say probation officer john Wolgamood damaged his ex-girlfriend's car in a parking lot behind the federal building in Kalamazoo. According to report, Wolgamood and his girlfriend had separated after ten years together, and police say he retaliated. As a juvenile probation officer in Van Buren County, 51-year-old John Wolgamood works with young people in trouble with the law, but now he's been arrested in Kalamazoo County. Wolgamood is accused of a number of things over several weeks, including vandalizing his ex-girlfriend's car, stealing valuables from that car, and harassing his ex over the phone. According to reports, in early May the ex-girlfriend noticed items missing from her car and ―on May 14th or 15th the woman noticed that her vehicle had a foul odor.‖
Police say they later confirmed that Wolgamood had dumped a solution containing garlic in the SUV. Then, on May 25th, police say Wolgamood stole a necklace, gold earrings, a curling iron and pills from the woman's car. Police say Wolgamood later admitted to throwing some of the items out his car window as he drove down Stadium Drive. When questioned, police say Wolgamood told officer that he took the items because he was ―messed up‖ on alcohol and Xanax pills. Police say Wolgamood also said ―I know that doesn't make what I did right.‖ Newschannel 3 spoke to the judge who oversees the juvenile court system in Van Buren County and the court administrator, but they would not say whether Wolgamood is still employed in the county. According to a source who works in the department, he has been placed on administrative leave. Newschannel 3 knocked on the door at Wolgamood's house, but no one answered. Wolgamood is charged with both larceny and destruction of personal property. http://www.wwmt.com/articles/newschannel-1392526-buren-officer.html Comment here
LAX TSA worker Paul Yashou taken into custody on suspicion of theft June 23, 2011 Police say a Transportation Security Administration worker has been arrested on suspicion of stealing items from passengers' luggage at Los Angeles International Airport.
Los Angeles police Officer Bruce Borihanh says 37-year-old Paul Yashou was taken into custody Thursday on suspicion of burglary. In a statement, TSA says it "has a zero tolerance for theft" and will work with authorities to hold its employees accountable. Yashou is being held on $20,000 bail. Associated Press Comment here
Justin Hike is Jacksonville's fourth officer to get arrested in seven months June 24, 2011 JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- For the second time this week, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office has arrested one of its own. Justin Hike, 21, a community service officer, is facing charges of bank fraud and engaging in schemes to defraud, the result of a month-long investigation by JSO's Integrity Unit. Police said Hike wrote bad checks from one of his bank accounts five times and deposited them into another account, then withdrew money from an ATM. The check would later come back as a bad check with insufficient funds. "Basically, what he was doing was he would open an account that had no money in it," Undersheriff Dwain Senterfitt said. "But then he would go to
his account and deposit money from one account to that account and then withdraw the money from the ATM before the check came back." Investigators said that he fraudulently withdrew nearly $4,400 in all. Hike, who has worked for the Sheriff's Office since August 2009, resigned after his arrest Thursday. "We take it very seriously," Senterfitt said. "We don't tolerate any kind of misconduct, especially criminal misconduct, and when we find that it has happened with our employees, we arrest them, too, just like we do anybody else." Hike is the second JSO employee arrested this week and the fourth officer arrested in the past seven months. http://www.news4jax.com/news/28346020/detail.html Comment here
Westerly officer Robert Giman suspended without pay for DUI and weapons charge June 24, 2011 WESTERLY — A 15-year veteran of the Westerly Police Department has been suspended without pay following the filing of drunken driving and weapons charges against him in Ohio. Officer Robert Gilman was charged May 30 with operating a vehicle while intoxicated, transporting a handgun while under the influence of alcohol, and transporting a handgun with a prohibited concentration of alcohol or a controlled substance in one‘s blood, urine, or on one‘s breath. The weapon charges are both fifth-degree felonies, punishable by a prison term of 6 to 12 months and a fine of $2,500 for each offense. Gilman was arrested on the Ohio Turnpike in Maumee, Ohio, at about 9:58 p.m. He was stopped by a highway patrolman who reported finding a loaded 9 mm handgun on the rear floorboard, behind the driver‘s seat of Gilman‘s vehicle. Chief of Police Edward A. Mello said he was informed of Gilman‘s arrest by the Ohio State Highway Patrol. The gun was not issued by the Westerly department, Mello said.
―It is a matter that we take very seriously as I expect all officers to be held accountable for their actions,‖ Mello said. Mello would not comment on the length of Gilman‘s suspension or when it began, saying the information could not be disclosed because of Gilman‘s status as an employee of the town and protections afforded by the Rhode Island Law Enforcement Officers‘ Bill of Rights. Those provisions in state law shield police officers accused of non-criminal offenses. Officer Steve Johnson, president of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers Local 503, the union representing Westerly Police officers, declined comment. Gilman could not be reached for comment. BY: DALE P. FAULKNER Comment here
Millville officer Bryan Branson accused of sexual assault June 24, 2011 A Redding law firm representing a Millville woman who claims she was raped by an Anderson police officer last year while he was taking her to jail has filed a $10 million federal lawsuit against the city of Anderson and its police department. The 11-page lawsuit, filed this week in U.S. Eastern District Court in Sacramento by Barr & Mudford, also specifically names APD Chief Dale Webb and former officer Matthew Goodwin as defendants. It is demanding a jury trial. But it does not name as a defendant former Officer Bryan Benson, 26, who is accused of sexually assaulting the woman. That's because he's been fired from the police department and is bankrupt, the lawsuit said. Still, his name is prevalent throughout the civil action. Benson, then 25, was arrested last year on suspicion of sexually assaulting the now 25-year-old woman, who is not being identified by the Record Searchlight because she's an alleged sexual assault victim.
She had been arrested by Goodwin on a traffic violation on May 29, 2010, and was transferred to Benson for transport to the jail in an unmarked squad car, the lawsuit says. During the transport, the lawsuit alleges, Benson "deviated significantly" from a route to jail and stopped the unmarked car in a remote location where he attempted to talk her into performing certain sex acts on him. "This deviation amounted to a kidnapping," the lawsuit said. When the woman refused to perform the sex acts, the lawsuit said, Benson restarted the car and drove "to a concealed location, and resorted to force in order to sexually assault and rape" her. "He got her out of the car and just did it," Redding attorney Dugan Barr said in a telephone conversation Thursday. Even if the woman had consented to the sex, that would still be against the law. "It's absolutely clear that someone in custody of law enforcement cannot give consent to a sexual act," Barr said. Benson is criminally charged with seven felonies, including kidnapping to commit rape, forcible rape, rape by threat of authority to arrest or deport, kidnapping, sexual battery by restraint, bribery and assault by public officer. He was fired from the police department in August and has pleaded not guilty to all charges. He is scheduled to begin standing trial on July 19, but a defense motion seeking to dismiss the case is scheduled to be heard on Monday, according to electronic court records. Anderson City Manager Dana Shigley said Thursday that she has seen the federal lawsuit, which she had expected to be filed, but could not respond in detail to it. The young woman had filed a claim â€” precursor to a lawsuit â€” which the city council rejected in December.
"Obviously we are disappointed" the suit was filed, Shigley said, adding she does not believe the city is liable. Still, she said, "we knew it would be coming," and the city has retained special legal counsel from Sacramento. Webb is on medical leave. Interim Police Chief Shawn Watts, who took over the post on May 1, said Thursday he was unaware of the lawsuit. But, he acknowledged, he would be unable to comment on its allegations even if he had read it. Goodwin admitted to police investigators that Benson told him that he had sex with the woman, but he did not report it to his supervisors until four days after the incident. He was fired in October, but the district attorney's office declined to file criminal charges against him. The federal lawsuit alleges APD officers have a "deplorable lack of training" when it comes to the safety of people in their control. The suit claims that after Benson drove away with the Millville woman, Goodwin drove the woman's minor sister to a private residence that was not her home and left her there with two young men. "He did not contact, or attempt to contact, the minor's parents to advise them of the minor's situation," the lawsuit said. BY: Jim Schultz Comment here
Lowell officer Aravanh Lakmany charged with raping prostitutes while on duty June 24, 2011 A Lowell police officer was charged with raping prostitutes and soliciting prostitution while on duty. Officer Aravanh Lakmany was indicted on Thursday, according to the Middlesex District Attorney‘s office. Lakmany allegedly solicited several prostitutes beginning in 2009 during his night shifts for the Lowell Police Department. Prosecuters say he asked the women to get into his cruiser or personal car and drove them to a secluded area to engage in sexual acts. The officer told one prostitute he would not arrest her if she had sex with him, according to prosecutors. According to the Associated Press, a woman answered Lakmany‘s home phone and said ―no comment,‖ and hung up. BY: Brittney McNamara Comment here
Update: Superior police sergeant Dan Hawkin demoted after pleading guilty to domestic violence June 24, 2011 A Superior police sergeant was stripped of his rank following an internal investigation into events surrounding his arrest in connection with an incident in Carlton County. Dan Hawkin II, 44, was arrested following an incident involving his girlfriend. Hawkin had been accused of punching his girlfriend. Originally charged with fifth-degree domestic assault, Hawkin pleaded guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct Monday in Carlton County District Court. Because of the internal investigation, Police Chief Floyd Peters said he suspended Hawkin without pay for two weeks and demoted him to the rank of officer. He also was placed on a two-year last-chance agreement. Hawkin had been on paid administrative since the Jan. 23 incident as required by state law and department policy. Comment here
Rochester citizens who support Emily Good for filming traffic stop are claiming police harassment after receiving parking tickets June 24, 2011 A group of Rochester citizens meeting to show support for a woman arrested while video-taping a police traffic stop claim police harassment. Members of the group IndyMedia say several police officers converged on Clarissa Street late Thursday afternoon and began ticketing their parked cars for being more than 12 inches from the curb. A member of the group video taped the incident and posted the video on line. The pictures show police using a pink ruler to measure the distance from the curb to the wheels, and then issuing parking tickets. Spokeswoman Dawn Zuppelli says this was obvious retaliation. "This was a clear intimidation tactic. And I'm outraged about it. It was an appalling use of city (police) resources. They told us it was citizen complaints about how the cars were parked, and I don't believe it for a second. I absolutely think we're being targeted. They're leaving us a message that they are angry about this. It's gotten international coverage at this point, the misconduct of the RPD and they want to let us know that they're not happy about it," Zuppelli said. Zuppleii says their meeting was well publicized on all the social media networks. Four police cars showed up within 20 minutes of the meeting starting. Emily Good was arrested earlier this week while taking pictures of police from her yard using her cell phone. The police officer reportedly instructed Good to go back into her home because he felt his safety was threatened. She's been charged with obstructing governmental administration. Her arrest and video have drawn outrage and national media coverage.
Zuppelli said she and other concerned citizens Thursday were simply discussing what she called the the Rochester Police Department's harassment and misconduct surrounding Good's case and other cases in the city. "It's ridiculous and it's going to make more of a mockery of the Rochester Police Department," said Zuppelli. "We're not going to be intimidated by RPD and we're not going to stop organizing around this and bringing these injustices to light." Davy Vara has been critical of the Rochester Police Department in the past. "The officers are rogue. They need to be put on notice that this behavior is not tolerated." And Vara says it goes beyond what happened yesterday. "Our youth especially are being taught when they see incidents such as this clear retaliation and intimidation tactics by Rochester police officers, they're being taught not to respect authority." News 10NBC has put in requests for reaction to the Clarissa Street incident with both Police Chief James Sheppard and Mayor Thomas Richards. A spokesman for Sheppard says the police department is trying to gather all the information. Rochester Police Union President Mike Mazzeo told News 10NBC that he has serious concerns about releasing the names and addresses of the officers online. He wouldn't comment directly on charges police were deliberately intimidating citizens. He says he doesn't want to put more fuel on the fire. Mazzeo says, "City police officers write ticket every night after parking enforcement officers leave for the day. And if there's a parking infraction they come across in their patrol areas, they will write those violations. That's part of their job." BY: Ray Levato Comment here
Maui officer Sean K. Marzoeki arrested on allegations of theft and failure to acquire permit for firearm June 24, 2011 A Maui Police officer was arrested on Thursday on allegations of theft and failure to acquire a firearm permit. Sean K. Marzoeki, 32, turned himself in at the Wailuku Police Station and was released after posting $5,000 bail. The allegations stem from an investigation in which police say Marzoeki failed to submit property that was voluntarily turned over to him. Marzoeki has been employed with the Maui Police Department since August 27, 2001. He is currently on restricted duty. An arraignment and plea date has been set for Thursday, July 7th, 2011 at 8:30 a.m. in Second Circuit Court. BY: Wendy Osher Comment here
New Orleans officers Joshua Hunt and Samuel Birks facing felony charges June 24, 2011 NEW ORLEANS -- Two NOPD officers are facing felony charges in connection with the arrest of an Algier man that was first featured in a 4 Investigates report earlier this month. The NOPD officers initially faced allegations of perjury and neglect of duty. Now new felony charges have been filed in this case for former Officer Joshua Hunt and Officer Samuel Birks. Court documents show that Hunt faces charges of making false statements, filing a false public record, malfeasance in office, and perjury. Birks faces two charges of filing a false public record and malfeasance in office. "That day on January 25, 2011 he was just walking down the street and he found himself in the back of a police car for no reason,â€– said Heather Hendrix, criminal defense attorney for the man arrested, Alvin Bean. The allegations of police corruption unfurled five months ago, when Bean was stopped along Garden Oaks Drive. The Algiers man said he was placed in the back of NOPD Officer Samuel Birksâ€˜ patrol car for no apparent reason. "The whole time, Alvin's asking, 'What did I do, am I under arrest?" Hendrix said. "He's being told, Alvin's says he's being told, 'We don't know yet, we don't know yet, hold on.'"
While Bean asked Birks what was going on, the patrol car ended up at the Westside Dental Group, where Hunt, Birks' partner, was picked up from a dentist's appointment.
In March, during a motion hearing, Hunt testified that he was on foot patrol with his partner Birks inside an apartment complex when they saw Bean make a drug transaction, which led to his arrest. A police report showed that both officers made the arrest at 3:30 p.m., but according to a letter subpoenaed from Westside Dental Group, Hunt was actually at the dentist at 3:30 p.m., and not out on patrol. Cocaine allegedly found on bean, both lawyer and client say, was planted by police. Hendrix says the newly filed charges highlight her client's innocence. "It‘s vindication,‖ Hendrix said. ―I'm just very happy that the District Attorney's office has taken this stance, has filed these indictments against these two officers." As the case makes its way through the legal system, Hendrix says her client is pleased by this latest development in the case, but also leery.
"I spoke to Alvin and his wife, they're elated, and excited to find out that this happened and in shock,‖ Hendrix said. ―They're also nervous because they're scared about retribution." Since these allegations came to light, Hunt resigned from the NOPD and Birks was placed on desk duty. BY: Tania Dall Comment here
San Diego officer Burt Hulbert will not face charges for assaulting 17-year old June 24, 2011 SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - News 8 has learned a San Diego police officer accused of assaulting a 17-year-old boy will not face criminal charges. The altercation began when the off-duty officer discovered the teenager and another boy smoking pot. "I felt like Dick Butkus was coming at me. It was definitely a scary moment," the teen said. In April, San Diego police officer Burt Hulbert found the boy smoking pot inside a car outside the officer's Rancho Penasquitos home. "He kept kicking me seven to eight times, then he tried to get me out of the car. He grabbed my neck, I fought back to get away and he punched me in the face twice," the teen said. A police incident report showed the teenager suffered a fractured face and went to the hospital. The boy, who News 8 is not identifying because he is a minor, claimed Hulbert never identified himself as an officer. Two months later, the district attorney's office has informed the teenager there is not enough evidence to file charges. "They just said that they just didn't have enough. I mean I'm obviously disappointed but I understand it. It's understandableâ€Ś it's tough to convict a cop I guess," the teen said. Hulbert is the first of nine San Diego police officers accused of wrongdoing in recent months to be officially cleared of criminal charges. For now, he remains on paid desk duty because an internal police department review is still ongoing. Chances are he'll be back on patrol in the near future.
"That's the thing that bothers me the most, if anything, is that he's going to be back on patrol. I just hope it doesn't happen again," the teen said. Meanwhile, the teenager's father is still talking to an attorney about filing a civil suit. "Grabbing a 17-year-old kid and beating the hell out of him isn't exactly anything I see as the correct way of justice," the father said. Officer Hulbert did not respond to a telephone message seeking comment. He's a veteran San Diego officer of 24 years who currently works out of the department's northern division. Comment here
Texas detention center officer Edwin Rodriguez charged with sexual assault of a female June 24, 2011 RAYMONDVILLE â€” A guard at the illegal immigrant detention center here has been charged with sexual abuse of a female detainee. Contract Security Officer Edwin Rodriguez, 31, of Raymondville, was charged in a federal indictment with sexual abuse of a female Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainee who was under his supervision in the Willacy Detention Center, the Department of Justice said in a statement. Rodriguez, who is employed by Management and Training Corp. of Centerville, Utah, was charged in a one-count felony indictment returned Tuesday by a Brownsville federal grand jury under seal, federal officials said in a statement. The indictment was unsealed following Rodriguezâ€˜s arrest on Wednesday, the DOJ said in a statement.
―According to allegations contained in the indictment, Rodriguez engaged in sexual intercourse with a female detainee on or about Oct. 26, 2008, while she was being held in official detention pending deportation,‖ DOJ said in the statement. Rodriguez entered a plea of not guilty Thursday when he appeared before U.S. Magistrate Felix Recio, federal officials said. He will remain in federal custody without bond until a hearing on June 27, DOJ officials said. Rodriguez faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release if convicted. ―MTC can‘t comment about the specifics of this indictment as it is an open legal proceeding,‖ the company said in a written statement. ―MTC has a zero tolerance policy for this type of activity. The company has an absolute expectation for the professional behavior of all employees. We have and will cooperate fully with authorities in their investigation of the alleged sexual abuse.‖ The case was investigated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement‘s Office of Professional Responsibility in Harlingen, DOJ said. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kebharu Smith and Civil Rights Division Criminal Section Trial Attorney Adriana Vieco are handling the prosecution, officials said in the statement. BY: ALLEN ESSEX Comment here
Former Suffolk officer Jay Quigley charged with drug possession and molesting young girl June 24, 2011 SUFFOLK – A former Suffolk police officer is charged with drug possession and he‘s accused of sexually molesting a young girl. Jay Quigley is accused of molesting a girl starting when she was 10 years old, according to a search warrant. That girl is now an adult. ―It is not unusual for victims to come forward later when they feel they're in a position of safety,‖ stated Suffolk police spokesperson Debbie George. Quigley‘s friend Ruben Durand said he can‘t believe the accusation. ―He‘s a hard working guy,‖ described Durand. The search warrant states that Quigley‘s wife saw him on Facebook asking young girls to text him pictures on his cell phone. Investigators confiscated lap top computers and DVDs from Quigley‘s Whaleyville home. They also found marijuana. While he is charged with possession of drugs, the Commonwealth‘s Attorney says there‘s not enough evidence to charge him with aggravated sexual battery. Detectives say the investigation is far from over. ―It‘s disturbing because he was an officer…. position of trust and authority." Quigley worked as a patrol officer for Suffolk from 2001 to 2007. BY: Sula Kim Comment here
Secret Service officer Lester Blount sues Tulsa officer Brian Surber for excessive force when searching home for steroids June 25, 2011 TULSA, Okla. (AP) â€” A U.S. Secret Service officer from Maryland has sued an Oklahoma narcotics agent, claiming the agent used excessive force during a 2008 search of the federal officer's home as part of a steroids investigation. The lawsuit was filed Wednesday by Lester Blount Jr. of Prince Georges County, Md., against Brian Surber, an agent for the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. The suit claims Surber was part of a group of law enforcement agents who raided Blount's Maryland home in 2008 and held his family at gunpoint. Blount's children at the time were ages 1, 3 and 8. His wife, Miriam Blount, is also a plaintiff in the suit. There is no record of charges being filed against Blount in the case. The suit, filed in Oklahoma County District Court, seeks unspecified damages for civil rights violations and malicious prosecution. It claims Surber used excessive force and made false statements in the search warrant affidavit. Blount, an officer with the Secret Service, provides security at federal facilities and functions. He confirmed he is still employed with the Secret Service and referred additional comment to his attorney. Josh Stockton, an attorney representing Blount, said, "We have raised serious allegations and look forward to proving them in court." Mark Woodward, a spokesman for OBNDD, said the agency could not comment on a pending legal matter.
The search occurred July 17, 2008, and was part of an ongoing steroids investigation by the OBNDD, the suit claims. The bureau began the steroids investigation in January 2007, and at least 11 people have been arrested since then, records show. In a 2009 press release, Woodward described the investigation as "far-reaching" and said it involved suspects in Oklahoma and other states. "The drugs are being manufactured and distributed within a growing circle of individuals tied to competitive body building," Woodward said in the release. Blount's lawsuit claims a search warrant affidavit prepared by Surber "included false, misleading and/or fabricated allegations." In 2008, Surber identified himself in a search warrant affidavit as a special agent based in Tulsa. He is also a licensed attorney, former general counsel of OBNDD and former assistant district attorney, records show. "The search warrant was based on unverified allegations of steroid possession and distribution and the fact that Mr. Blount had a 'muscular physique,' " the suit states. A SWAT team from the Maryland State Police, Secret Service agents and agents from the OBNDD accompanied Surber on the raid, it states. All of the officers were armed, and they held the family at gunpoint during the search, the suit states. "No evidence of drug use or drug dealing was discovered," it states. Woodward declined to say how many OBNDD agents went to Maryland for the search or to provide a copy of the search warrant. Before serving the search warrant, Surber went to the Secret Service "and told Mr. Blount's supervisors that he was a 'drug user and dealer.'
As a result of this baseless and inflammatory accusation, Mr. Blount was placed on administrative leave, without pay, for a total of 22 months," the suit states. "The charges, for which the unsupported search warrant was issued, were eventually dropped by Defendant because Mr. Blount is not, in fact, a drug user or dealer," it states. A check of court files in Oklahoma County and Maryland shows no record of charges or a search warrant return being filed in the case. BY: ZIVA BRANSTETTER Comment here Update: Talbot County Sheriffâ€˜s Office jailer Michael Gamble appears before judge to face charges including bribery June 25, 2011 TALBOTTON, Ga. (AP) - A fourth Talbot County law enforcement official was charged this week in a widespread corruption investigation. Talbot County Sheriff's Office jailer Michael Gamble appeared before a judge Friday on bribery and other charges. Prosecutors say he accepted a $500 bribe from a confidential source in June in exchange for providing safe passage and travel to trafficking illegal drugs in the area. He is also accused of accepting a $200 cash bribe in May to look up criminal history and vehicle tag information for a source. Gamble's release came a day after three other Talbot County lawmen were freed on their own recognizance. Sheriff's Maj. Jeff Sivell, part-time deputy sheriff Charlie Stephens and former Talbotton police officer Alvin Malone pleaded not guilty to Thursday to federal charges of extortion. BY: Mike Lyons Comment here
Hearing rescheduled for former Sallisaw officer Don Hughes, who is accused of stealing cattle, intimidating witness and falsely reporting crime June 25, 2011 SALLISAW - A preliminary hearing will be rescheduled for a former Sallisaw police officer accused of stealing cattle, intimidating a witness and falsely reporting a crime. Wendel Don Hughes, 36, of Sallisaw was scheduled for preliminary hearing in Sequoyah County District Court Friday before Special Judge Larry Langley but the judge was unable to attend, according to a District Attorney's Office representative. Hughes' charges, filed Feb. 24, follow an incident in which Hughes allegedly accidentally shot himself in the chest with a .22-caliber pistol, then said the man who'd earlier accused him of stealing 178 cattle had shot him. On Jan. 5, Hughes was charged with 31 counts of larceny of domestic animals for allegedly stealing and selling cattle belonging to Mark Sweeney. Hughes is accused of stealing the cattle over a three-year period and selling them at area auctions. Hughes has pleaded not guilty in both cases. On Feb. 21, Hughes told Sallisaw police Sweeney shot him from his vehicle while they were driving west on U.S. 64 in Sallisaw. Sweeney denied involvement and video footage at a local casino confirmed Sweeney's whereabouts at the time of the shooting, according to an Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agent's report. When investigators re-interviewed Hughes, he told them he accidentally shot himself while trying to open the slide on the gun, according to an affidavit.
Hughes was fired from his police department job on Feb. 21. He'd worked for the department for eight years. BY: Mary L. Crider Comment here
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